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Capitalism Sf Slavery 



Eric Williams 



Chapel Hill 

Copyright, 1944, by 





To Professor Lowell Joseph Ragatz 

Whose monumental labors in this field 

may be amplified and developed 

but can never be superseded 


THE PRESENT STUDY is an attempt to place in historical per- 
spective the relationship between early capitalism as exemplified 
by Great Britain, and the Negro slave trade, Negro slavery and 
the general colonial trade of the seventeenth and eighteenth cen- 
turies. Every age rewrites history, but particularly ours, which 
has been forced by events to re-evaluate our conceptions of 
history and economic and political development. The progress 
of the Industrial Revolution has been treated more or less ade- 
quately in many books both learned and popular, and its lessons 
are fairly well established in the consciousness of 'the educated 
class in general and of those people in particular who are re- 
sponsible for the creation and guidance of informed opinion. 
On the other hand, while material has been accumulated and 
books have been written about the period which preceded the 
Industrial Revolution, the world-wide and interrelated nature 
of the commerce of that period, its direct effect upon the de- 
velopment of the Industrial Revolution, and the heritage which 
it has left even upon the civilization of today have not any- 
where been placed in compact and yet comprehensive perspec- 
tive. This study is an attempt to do so, without, however, fail- 
ing to give indications of the economic origin of well-known 
social, political, and even intellectual currents. 

The book, however, is not an essay in ideas or interpreta- 
tion. It is strictly an economic study of the role of Negro 
slavery and the slave trade in providing the capital which 
financed the Industrial Revolution in England and of mature 
industrial capitalism in destroying the slave system. It is there- 
fore first a study in English economic history and second in 



West Indian and Negro history. It is not a study of the institu- 
tion of slavery but of the contribution of slavery to the de- 
velopment of British capitalism. 

Many debts must be acknowledged. The staffs of the follow- 
ing institutions were very kind and helpful to me: British 
Museum; Public Record Office; India Office Library; West 
India Committee; Rhodes House Library, Oxford; Bank of 
England Record Office; the British Anti-Slavery and Aborigines 
Protection Society; Friends' House, London; John Rylands 
Library, Manchester; Central Library, Manchester; Public 
Library, Liverpool; Wilberforce Museum, Hull; Library of 
Congress; Biblioteca Nacional, Havana; Sociedad Economica de 
Amigos del Pai's, Havana. I wish to thank the Newberry Li- 
brary, Chicago, for its kindness in making it possible for me, 
through an inter-library loan with Founders' Library, Howard 
University, to see Sir Charles Whitworth's valuable statistics 
on "State of the Trade of Great Britain in its imports and ex- 
ports, progressively from the year 1697-1773." 

My research has been facilitated by grants from different 
sources: the Trinidad Government, which extended an original 
scholarship; Oxford University, which awarded me two Senior 
Studentships; the Beit Fund for the study of British Colonial 
History, which made two grants; and the Julius Rosenwald 
Foundation, which awarded me fellowships in 1940 and 1942. 
Professor Lowell J. Ragatz of George Washington University 
in this city, Professor Frank W. Pitman of Pomona College, 
Claremont, California, and Professor Melville J. Herskovits of 
Northwestern University, very kindly read the manuscript and 
made many suggestions. So did my senior colleague at Howard 
University, Professor Charles Burch. Dr. Vincent Harlow, now 
Rhodes Professor of Imperial History in the University of 
London, supervised my doctoral dissertation at Oxford and was 
always very helpful. Finally, my wife was of great assistance 
to me in taking my notes and typing the manuscript. 

Howard University 
Washington, D.G 
September 12, 1943 



Preface vii 

1 . The Origin of Negro Slavery 3 

2. The Development of the Negro Slave Trade . . 50 

3. British Commerce and the Triangular Trade . . J/ 

4. The West India Interest 8f 

5. British Industry and the Triangular Trade .... 98 

6. The American Revolution 108 

7. The Development of British Capitalism, 
1783-1833 126 

8. The New Industrial Order /5J 

9. British Capitalism and the West Indies / 54 

10. The "Commercial Part of the Nation" and 

Slavery 169 

n. The "Saints" and Slavery 178 

12. The Slaves and Slavery 7^7 

1 3. Conclusion 209 

Notes 213 

Bibliography 262 

Index 2ji 


Capitalism & Slavery 




WHEN IN 1492 COLUMBUS, representing the Spanish monarchy, 
discovered the New World, he set in train the long and bitter 
international rivalry over colonial possessions for which, after 
four and a half centuries, no solution has yet been found. Portu- 
gal, which had initiated the movement of international expan- 
sion, claimed the new territories on the ground that they fell 
within the scope of a papal bull of 1455 authorizing her to re- 
duce to servitude all infidel peoples. The two powers, to avoid 
controversy, sought arbitration and, as Catholics, turned to the 
Pope a natural and logical step in an age when the universal 
claims of the Papacy were still unchallenged by individuals and 
governments. After carefully sifting the rival claims, the Pope 
issued in 1493 a series of papal bulls which established a line of 
demarcation between the colonial possessions of the two states: 
the East went to Portugal and the West to Spain. The partition, 
however, failed to satisfy Portuguese aspirations and in the sub- 
sequent year the contending parties reached a more satisfactory 
compromise in the Treaty of Tordesillas, which rectified the 
papal judgment to permit Portuguese ownership of Brazil. 

Neither the papal arbitration nor the formal treaty was in- 
tended to be binding on other powers, and both were in fact 
repudiated. Cabot's voyage to North America in 1497 was Eng- 



land's immediate reply to the partition. Francis I of France 
voiced his celebrated protest: "The sun shines for me as for 
others. I should very much like to see the clause in Adam's 
will that excludes me from a share of the world." The king of 
Denmark refused to accept the Pope's ruling as far as the East 
Indies were concerned. Sir William Cecil, the famous Elizabe- 
than statesman, denied the Pope's right "to give and take king- 
doms to whomsoever he pleased." In 1580 the English govern- 
ment countered with the principle of effective occupation as 
the determinant of sovereignty. 1 Thereafter, in the parlance of 
the day, there was "no peace below the line." It was a dispute, 
in the words of a later governor of Barbados, as to "whether 
the King of England or of France shall be monarch of the West 
Indies, for the King of Spain cannot hold it long. . . ." 2 Eng- 
land, France, and even Holland, began to challenge the Iberian 
Axis and claim their place in the sun. The Negro, too, was to 
have his place, though he did not ask for it: it was the broiling 
sun of the sugar, tobacco and cotton plantations of the New 

According to Adam Smith, the prosperity of a new colony 
depends upon one simple economic factor "plenty of good 
land." 3 The British colonial possessions up to 1776, however, can 
broadly be divided into two types. The first is the self-sufficient 
and diversified economy of small farmers, "mere earth- 
scratchers" as Gibbon Wakefield derisively called them, 4 living 
on a soil which, as Canada was described in 1840, was "no lot- 
tery, with a few exorbitant prizes and a large number of 
blanks, but a secure and certain investment." 5 The second type 
is the colony which has facilities for the production of staple 
articles on a large scale for an export market. In the first cate- 
gory fell the Northern colonies of the American mainland; in 
the second, the mainland tobacco colonies and the sugar islands 
of the Caribbean. In colonies of the latter type, as Merivale 
pointed out, land and capital were both useless unless labor 
could be commanded. 6 Labor, that is, must be constant and 
must work, or be made to work, in co-operation. In such 
colonies the rugged individualism of the Massachusetts farmer, 


practising his intensive agriculture and wringing by the sweat 
of his brow niggardly returns from a grudging soil, must yield 
to the disciplined gang of the big capitalist practising exten- 
sive agriculture and producing on a large scale. Without this 
compulsion, the laborer would otherwise exercise his natural 
inclination to work his own land and toil on his own account. 
The story is frequently told of the great English capitalist, Mr. 
Peel, who took 50,000 and three hundred laborers with him 
to the Swan River colony in Australia. His plan was that his 
laborers would work for him, as in the old country. Arrived 
in Australia, however, where land was plentiful too plentiful 
the laborers preferred to work for themselves as small 
proprietors, rather than under the capitalist for wages. Austra- 
lia was not England, and the capitalist was left without a serv- 
ant to make his bed or fetch him water. 7 

For the Caribbean colonies the solution for this dispersion and 
"earth-scratching" was slavery. The lesson of the early history 
of Georgia is instructive. Prohibited from employing slave 
labor by trustees who, in some instances, themselves owned 
slaves in other colonies, the Georgian planters found them- 
selves in the position, as Whitefield phrased it, of pepple whose 
legs were tied and were told to walk. So the Georgia magistrates 
drank toasts "to the one thing needful" slavery until the ban 
was lifted. 8 "Odious resource" though it might be, as Merivale 
called it, 9 slavery was an economic institution of the first im- 
portance. It had been the basis of Greek economy and had built 
up the Roman Empire. In modern times it provided the sugar 
for the tea and the coffee cups of the Western world. It pro- 
duced the cotton to serve as a base for modern capitalism. It 
made the American South and the Caribbean islands. Seen in 
historical perspective, it forms a part of that general picture of 
the harsh treatment of the underprivileged classes, the unsympa- 
thetic poor laws and severe feudal laws, and the indifference 
with which the rising capitalist class was "beginning to reckon 
prosperity in terms of pounds sterling, and . . . becoming used 
to the idea of sacrificing human life to the deity of increased 
production." 10 

Adam Smith, the intellectual champion of the industrial mid- 


die class with its new-found doctrine of freedom, later propa- 
gated the argument that it was, in general, pride and love of 
power in the master that led to slavery and that, in those 
countries where slaves were employed, free labor would be 
more profitable. Universal experience demonstrated con- 
clusively that "the work done by slaves, though it appears to 
cost only their maintenance, is in the end the dearest of any. A 
person who can acquire no property can have no other in- 
terest than to eat as much, and to labour as little as possible." 11 

Adam Smith thereby treated as an abstract proposition what 
is a specific question of time, place, labor and soil. The eco- 
nomic superiority of free hired labor over slave is obvious even 
to the slave owner. Slave labor is given reluctantly, it is un- 
skilful, it lacks versatility. 12 Other things being equal, free men 
would be preferred. But in the early stages of colonial devel- 
opment, other things are not equal. When slavery is adopted, 
it is not adopted as the choice over free labor; there is no choice 
at all. The reasons for slavery, wrote Gibbon Wakefield, "are 
not moral, but economical circumstances; they relate not to 
vice and virtue, but to production." 13 With the limited popu- 
lation of Europe in the sixteenth century, the free laborers 
necessary to cultivate the staple crops of sugar, tobacco and 
cotton in the New World could not have been supplied in 
quantities adequate to permit large-scale production. Slavery 
was necessary for this, and to get slaves the Europeans turned 
first to the aborigines and then to Africa. 

Under certain circumstances slavery has some obvious ad- 
vantages. In the cultivation of crops like sugar, cotton and 
tobacco, where the cost of production is appreciably reduced 
on larger units, the slaveowner, with his large-scale produc- 
tion and his organized slave gang, can make more profitable 
use of the land than the small farmer or peasant proprietor. 
For such staple crops, the vast profits can well stand the greater 
expense of inefficient slave labor. 14 Where all the knowledge 
required is simple and a matter of routine, constancy and co- 
operation in labor slavery is essential, until, by importation 
of new recruits and breeding, the population has reached the 
point of density and the land available for appropriation has 


been already apportioned. When that stage is reached, and 
only then, the expenses of slavery, in the form of the cost and 
maintenance of slaves, productive and unproductive, exceed 
the cost of hired laborers. As Merivale wrote: "Slave labour 
is dearer than free wherever abundance of free labour can be 
procured" 15 

From the standpoint of the grower, the greatest defect of 
slavery lies in the fact that it quickly exhausts the soil. The 
labor supply of low social status, docile and cheap, can be 
maintained in subjection only by systematic degradation and 
by deliberate efforts to suppress its intelligence. Rotation of 
crops and scientific farming are therefore alien to slave 
societies. As Jefferson wrote of Virginia, "we can buy an acre 
of new land cheaper than we can manure an old one." 16 The 
slave planter, in the picturesque nomenclature of the South, 
is a "land-killer." This serious defect of slavery can be counter- 
balanced and postponed for a time if fertile soil is practically 
unlimited. Expansion is a necessity of slave societies; the slave 
power requires ever fresh conquests. 17 "It is more profitable," 
wrote Merivale, "to cultivate a fresh soil by the dear labour of 
slaves, than an exhausted one by the cheap labour of free- 
men." 18 From Virginia and Maryland to Carolina, Georgia, 
Texas and the Middle West; from Barbados to Jamaica to Saint 
Domingue and then to Cuba; the logic was inexorable and the 
same. It was a relay race; the first to start passed the baton, 
unwillingly we may be sure, to another and then limped sadly 

Slavery in the Caribbean has been too narrowly identified 
with the Negro. A racial twist has thereby been given to what 
is basically an economic phenomenon. Slavery was not born of 
racism: rather, racism was the consequence of slavery. Unfree 
labor in the New World was brown, white, black, and yellow; 
Catholic, Protestant and pagan. 

The first instance of slave trading and slave labor developed 
in the New World involved, racially, not the Negro but the 
Indian. The Indians rapidly succumbed to the excessive labor 
demanded of them, the insufficient diet, the white man's dis- 


eases, and their inability to adjust themselves to the new way 
of life. Accustomed to a life of liberty, their constitution and 
temperament were ill-adapted to the rigors of plantation 
slavery. As Fernando Ortiz writes: "To subject the Indian to 
the mines, to their monotonous, insane and severe labor, with- 
out tribal sense, without religious ritual, . . . was like taking 
away from him the meaning of his life. ... It was to enslave 
not only his muscles but also his collective spirit." 19 

The visitor to Ciudad Trujillo, capital of the Dominican Re- 
public (the present-day name of half of the island formerly 
called Hispaniola), will see a statue of Columbus, with the 
figure of an Indian woman gratefully writing (so reads the 
caption) the name of the Discoverer. The story is told, on the 
other hand, of the Indian chieftain, Hatuey, who, doomed to 
die for resisting the invaders, staunchly refused to accept the 
Christian faith as the gateway to salvation when he learned 
that his executioners, too, hoped to get to Heaven. It is far 
more probable that Hatuey, rather than the anonymous woman, 
represented contemporary Indian opinion of their new over- 

England and France, in their colonies, followed the Spanish 
practice of enslavement of the Indians. There was one con- 
spicuous difference the attempts of the Spanish Crown, how- 
ever ineffective, to restrict Indian slavery to those who re- 
fused to accept Christianity and to the warlike Caribs on the 
specious plea that they were cannibals. From the standpoint of 
the British government Indian slavery, unlike later Negro 
slavery which involved vital imperial interests, was a purely 
colonial matter. As Lauber writes: "The home government was 
interested in colonial slave conditions and legislation only when 
the African slave trade was involved. . . . Since it (Indian 
slavery) was never sufficiently extensive to interfere with 
Negro slavery and the slave trade, it never received any at- 
tention from the home government, and so existed as legal be- 
cause never declared illegal." 20 

But Indian slavery never was extensive in the British do- 
minions. Ballagh, writing of Virginia, says that popular senti- 
ment had never "demanded the subjection of the Indian race 


per se, as was practically the case with the Negro in the first 
slave act of 1661, but only of a portion of it, and that admittedly 
a very small portion. ... In the case of the Indian . . . slavery 
was viewed as of an occasional nature, a preventive penalty 
and not as a normal and permanent condition." 21 In the New 
England colonies Indian slavery was unprofitable, for slavery 
of any kind was unprofitable because it was unsuited to the di- 
versified agriculture of these colonies. In addition the Indian 
slave was inefficient. The Spaniards discovered that one Negro 
was worth four Indians. 22 A prominent official in Hispaniola in- 
sisted in 1518 that "permission be given to bring Negroes, a race 
robust for labor, instead of natives, so weak that they can only 
be employed in tasks requiring little endurance, such as taking 
care of maize fields or farms." 23 The future staples of the New 
World, sugar and cotton, required strength which the Indian 
lacked, and demanded the robust "cotton nigger" as sugar's 
need of strong mules produced in Louisiana the epithet "sugar 
mules." According to Lauber, "When compared with sums 
paid for Negroes at the same time and place the prices of 
Indian slaves are found to have been considerably lower." 24 

The Indian reservoir, too, was limited, the African inex- 
haustible. Negroes therefore were stolen in Africa to work the 
lands stolen from the Indians in America. The voyages of 
Prince Henry the Navigator complemented those of Columbus, 
West African history became the complement of West Indian. 

The immediate successor of the Indian, however, was not the 
Negro but the poor white. These white servants included a 
variety of types. Some were indentured servants, so called be- 
cause, before departure from the homeland, they had signed a 
contract, indented by law, binding them to service for a stipu- 
lated time in return for their passage. Still others, known as 
"redemptioners," arranged with the captain of the ship to pay 
for their passage on arrival or within a specified time there- 
after; if they did not, they were sold by the captain to the 
highest bidder. Others were convicts, sent out by the deliberate 
policy of the home government, to serve for a specified period. 

This emigration was in tune with mercantilist theories of the 


day which strongly advocated putting the poor to industrious 
and useful labor and favored emigration, voluntary or involun- 
tary, as relieving the poor rates and finding more profitable 
occupations abroad for idlers and vagrants at home. "Inden- 
tured servitude," writes C. M. Haar, "was called into existence 
by two different though complementary forces: there was both 
a positive attraction from the New World and a negative re- 
pulsion from the Old." 25 In a state paper delivered to James I 
in 1606 Bacon emphasized that by emigration England would 
gain "a double commodity, in the avoidance of people here, and 
in making use of them there." 26 

This temporary service at the outset denoted no inferiority 
or degradation. Many of the servants were manorial tenants 
fleeing from the irksome restrictions of feudalism, Irishmen 
seeking freedom from the oppression of landlords and bishops, 
Germans running away from the devastation of the Thirty 
Years' War. They transplanted in their hearts a burning desire 
for land, an ardent passion for independence. They came to the 
land of opportunity to be free men, their imaginations power- 
fully wrought upon by glowing and extravagant descriptions 
in the home country. 27 It was only later when, in the words 
of Dr. Williamson, "all ideals of a decent colonial society, of 
a better and greater England overseas, were swamped in the 
pursuit of an immediate gain," 28 that the introduction of dis- 
reputable elements became a general feature of indentured 

A regular traffic developed in these indentured servants. Be- 
tween 1654 and 1685 ten thousand sailed from Bristol alone, 
chiefly for the West Indies and Virginia. 29 In 1683 white serv- 
ants represented one-sixth of Virginia's population. Two-thirds 
of the immigrants to Pennsylvania during the eighteenth cen- 
tury were white servants; in four years 25,000 came to Phila- 
delphia alone. It has been estimated that more than a quarter 
of a million persons were of this class during the colonial 
period, 80 and that they probably constituted one-half of all 
English immigrants, the majority going to the middle colonies. 81 

As commercial speculation entered the picture, abuses crept 
in. Kidnaping was encouraged to a great degree and became 


a regular business in such towns as London and Bristol. Adults 
would be plied with liquor, children enticed with sweetmeats. 
The kidnapers were called "spirits," defined as "one that taketh 
upp men and women and children and sells them on a shipp 
to be conveyed beyond the sea." The captain of a ship trading 
to Jamaica would visit the Clerkenwell House of Correction, 
ply with drink the girls who had been imprisoned there as dis- 
orderly, and "invite" them to go to the West Indies. 32 The 
temptations held out to the unwary and the credulous were so 
attractive that, as the mayor of Bristol complained, husbands 
were induced to forsake their wives, wives their husbands, and 
apprentices their masters, while wanted criminals found on the 
transport ships a refuge from the arms of the law. 88 The wave 
of German immigration developed the "newlander," the labor 
agent of those days, who traveled up and down the Rhine Val- 
ley persuading the feudal peasants to sell their belongings and 
emigrate to America, receiving a commission for each emi- 
grant. 84 

Much has been written about the trickery these "newlanders" 
were not averse to employing. 85 But whatever the deceptions 
practised, it remains true, as Friedrich Kapp has written, that 
"the real ground for the emigration fever lay in the unhealthy 
political and economic conditions. . . . The misery and oppres- 
sion of the conditions of the little (German) states promoted 
emigration much more dangerously and continuously than the 
worst 'newlander.' " 36 

Convicts provided another steady source of white labor. The 
harsh feudal laws of England recognized three hundred capital 
crimes. Typical hanging offences included: picking a pocket 
for more than a shilling; shoplifting to the value of five shill- 
ings; stealing a horse or a sheep; poaching rabbits on a gentle- 
man's estate. 37 Offences for which the punishment prescribed 
by law was transportation comprised the stealing of cloth, burn- 
ing stacks of corn, the maiming and killing of cattle, hindering 
customs officers in the execution of their duty, and corrupt 
legal practices. 38 Proposals made in 1664 would have banished to 
the colonies all vagrants, rogues and idlers, petty thieves, gipsies, 
and loose persons frequenting unlicensed brothels. 89 A piteous 


petition in 1667 prayed for transportation instead of the death 
sentence for a wife convicted of stealing goods valued at three 
shillings and four pence. 40 In 1745 transportation was the pen- 
alty for the theft of a silver spoon and a gold watch. 41 One year 
after the emancipation of the Negro slaves, transportation was 
the penalty for trade union activity. It is difficult to resist the 
conclusion that there was some connection between the law 
and the labor needs of the plantations, and the marvel is that 
so few people ended up in the colonies overseas. 

Benjamin Franklin opposed this "dumping upon the New 
World of the outcasts of the Old" as the most cruel insult ever 
offered by one nation to another, and asked, if England was 
justified in sending her convicts to the colonies, whether the 
latter were justified in sending to England their rattlesnakes in 
exchange? 42 It is not clear why Franklin should have been 
so sensitive. Even if the convicts were hardened criminals, the 
great increase of indentured servants and free emigrants would 
have tended to render the convict influence innocuous, as in- 
creasing quantities of water poured in a glass containing poison. 
Without convicts the early development of the Australian col- 
onies in the nineteenth century would have been impossible. 
Only a few of the colonists, however, were so particular. The 
general attitude was summed up by a contemporary: "Their 
labor would be more beneficial in an infant settlement, than 
their vices could be pernicious." 43 There was nothing strange 
about this attitude. The great problem in a new country is the 
problem of labor, and convict labor, as Merivale has pointed 
out, was equivalent to a free present by the government to the 
settlers without burdening the latter with the expense of im- 
portation. 44 The governor of Virginia in 1611 was willing to 
welcome convicts reprieved from death as "a readie way to 
furnish us with men and not allways with the worst kind of 
men." 45 The West Indies were prepared to accept all and sun- 
dry, even the spawn of Newgate and Bridewell, for "no goale- 
bird \sic] can be so incorrigible, but there is hope of his con- 
formity here, as well as of his preferment, which some have 
happily experimented." 46 

The political and civil disturbances in England between 1640 


and 1740 augmented the supply of white servants. Political and 
religious nonconformists paid for their unorthodox^ by trans- 
portation, mostly to the sugar islands. Such was the fate of 
many of Cromwell's Irish prisoners, who were sent to the West 
Indies. 47 So thoroughly was this policy pursued that an active 
verb was added to the English language to "barbadoes" a per- 
son. 48 Montserrat became largely an Irish colony, 49 and the 
Irish brogue is still frequently heard today in many parts of the 
British West Indies. The Irish, however, were poor servants. 
They hated the English, were always ready to aid England's 
enemies, and in a revolt in the Leeward Islands in i689 50 we can 
already see signs of that burning indignation which, according 
to Lecky, gave Washington some of his best soldiers. 61 The 
vanquished in Cromwell's Scottish campaigns were treated like 
the Irish before them, and Scotsmen came to be regarded as 
"the general travaillers and soldiers in most foreign parts." 52 
Religious intolerance sent more workers to the plantations. In 
r 66 1 Quakers refusing to take the oath for the third time were 
to be transported; in 1664 transportation, to any plantation ex- 
cept Virginia or New England, or a fine of one hundred 
pounds was decreed for the third offence for persons over six- 
teen assembling in groups of five or more under pretence of 
religion. 53 Many of Monmouth's adherents were sent to Bar- 
bados, with orders to be detained as servants for ten years. The 
prisoners were granted in batches to favorite courtiers, who 
made handsome profits from the traffic in which, it is alleged, 
even the Queen shared. 54 A similar policy was resorted to after 
the Jacobite risings of the eighteenth century. 

The transportation of these white servants shows in its true 
light the horrors of the Middle Passage not as something 
unusual or inhuman but as a part of the age. The emigrants 
were packed like herrings. According to Mittelberger, each 
servant was allowed about two feet in width and six feet in 
length in bed. 55 The boats were small, the voyage long, the 
food, in the absence of refrigeration, bad, disease inevitable. A 
petition to Parliament in 1659 describes how seventy-two serv- 
ants had been locked up below deck during the whole voyage 
of five and a half weeks, "amongst horses, that their souls, 


through heat and steam under the tropic, fainted in them." 56 
Inevitably abuses crept into the system and Fearon was shocked 
by "the horrible picture of human suffering which this living 
sepulchre" of an emigrant vessel in Philadelphia afforded. 67 But 
conditions even for the free passengers were not much better in 
those days, and the comment of a Lady of Quality describing 
a voyage from Scotland to the West Indies on a ship full of 
indentured servants should banish any ideas that the horrors of 
the slave ship are to be accounted for by the fact that the vic- 
tims were Negroes. "It is hardly possible," she writes, "to be- 
lieve that human nature could be so depraved, as to treat fellow 
creatures in such a manner for so little gain." 58 

The transportation of servants and convicts produced a 
powerful vested interest in England. When the Colonial Board 
was created in 1661, not the least important of its duties was 
the control of the trade in indentured servants. In 1664 a com- 
mission was appointed, headed by the King's brother, to ex- 
amine and report upon the exportation of servants. In 1670 an 
act prohibiting the transportation of English prisoners overseas 
was rejected; another bill against the stealing of children came 
to nothing. In the transportation of felons, a whole hierarchy, 
from courtly secretaries and grave judges down to the jailors 
and turnkeys, insisted on having a share in the spoils. 69 It has 
been suggested that it was humanity for his fellow country- 
men and men of his own color which dictated the planter's 
preference for the Negro slave. 60 Of this humanity there is not 
a trace in the records of the time, at least as far as the planta- 
tion colonies and commercial production were concerned. At- 
tempts to register emigrant servants and regularize the proce- 
dure of transportation thereby giving full legal recognition to 
the system were evaded. The leading merchants and public 
officials were all involved in the practice. The penalty for man- 
stealing was exposure in the pillory, but no missiles from the 
spectators were tolerated. Such opposition as there was came 
from the masses. It was enough to point a finger at a woman in 
the streets of London and call her a "spirit" to start a riot. 

This was the situation in England when Jeffreys came to 
Bristol on his tour of the West to clean up the remnants of 


Monmouth's rebellion. Jeffreys has been handed down to pos- 
terity as a "butcher," the tyrannical deputy of an arbitrary 
king, and his legal visitation is recorded in the textbooks as the 
"Bloody Assizes." They had one redeeming feature. Jeffreys 
vowed that he had come to Bristol with a broom to sweep the 
city clean, and his wrath fell on the kidnapers who infested 
the highest municipal offices. The merchants and justices were 
in the habit of straining the law to increase the number of 
felons who could be transported to the sugar plantations they 
owned in the West Indies. They would terrify petty offenders 
with the prospect of hanging and then induce them to plead 
for transportation. Jeffreys turned upon the mayor, complete in 
scarlet and furs, who was about to sentence a pickpocket to 
transportation to Jamaica, forced him, to the great astonish- 
ment of Bristol's worthy citizens, to enter the prisoners' dock, 
like a common felon, to plead guilty or not guilty, and hectored 
him in characteristic language: "Sir, Mr. Mayor, you I meane, 
Kidnapper, and an old Justice of the Peace on the bench. ... I 
doe not knowe him, an old knave: he goes to the taverne, and 
for a pint of sack he will bind people servants to the Indies at 
the taverne. A kidnapping knave! I will have his ears off, before 
I goe forth of towne. . . . Kidnapper, you, I mean, Sir. ... If it 
were not in respect of the sword, which is over your head, I 
would send you to Newgate, you kidnapping knave. You are 
worse than the pick-pockett who stands there. ... I hear the 
trade of kidnapping is of great request. They can discharge a 
felon or a traitor, provided they will go to Mr. Alderman's 
plantation at the West Indies." The mayor was fined one 
thousand pounds, but apart from the loss of dignity and the 
fear aroused in their hearts, the merchants lost nothing their 
gains were left inviolate. 61 

According to one explanation, Jeffreys' insults were the result 
of intoxication or insanity. 62 It is not improbable that they were 
connected with a complete reversal of mercantilist thought on 
the question of emigration, as a result of the internal develop- 
ment of Britain herself. By the end of the seventeenth century 
the stress had shifted from the accumulation of the precious 
metals as the aim of national economic policy to the develop- 


ment of industry within the country, the promotion of em- 
ployment and the encouragement of exports. The mercantilists 
argued that the best way to reduce costs, and thereby compete 
with other countries, was to pay low wages, which a large pop- 
ulation tended to ensure. The fear of overpopulation at the be- 
ginning of the seventeenth century gave way to a fear of under- 
population in the middle of the same century. The essential 
condition of colonization emigration from the home country 
now ran counter to the principle that national interest de- 
manded a large population at home. Sir Josiah Child denied that 
emigration to America had weakened England, but he was 
forced to admit that in this view he was in a minority of pos- 
sibly one in a thousand, while he endorsed the general opinion 
that "whatever tends to the depopulating of a kingdom tends to 
the impoverishment of it." 03 Jeffreys' unusual humanitarianism 
appears less strange and may be attributed rather to economic 
than to spirituous considerations. His patrons, the Royal Family, 
had already given their patronage to the Royal African Com- 
pany and the Negro slave trade. For the surplus population 
needed to people the colonies in the New World the British had 
turned to Africa, and by 1680 they already had positive evi- 
dence, in Barbados, that the African was satisfying the neces- 
sities of production better than the European. 

The status of these servants became progressively worse in 
the plantation colonies. Servitude, originally a free personal 
relation based on voluntary contract for a definite period of 
service, in lieu of transportation and maintenance, tended to 
pass into a property relation which asserted a control of vary- 
ing extent over the bodies and liberties of the person during 
service as if he were a thing. 64 Eddis, writing on the eve of the 
Revolution, found the servants groaning "beneath a worse than 
Egyptian bondage." 65 In Maryland servitude developed into an 
institution approaching in some respects chattel slavery. 60 Of 
Pennsylvania it has been said that "no matter how kindly they 
may have been treated in particular cases, or how voluntarily 
they may have entered into the relation, as a class and when 
once bound, indentured servants were temporarily chattels." 67 
On the sugar plantations of Barbados the servants spent their 


time "grinding at the mills and attending the furnaces, or 
digging in this scorching island; having nothing to feed on 
(notwithstanding their hard labour) but potatoe roots, nor to 
drink, but water with such roots washed in it, besides the bread 
and tears of their own afflictions; being bought and sold still 
from one planter to another, or attached as horses and beasts 
for the debts of their masters, being whipt at the whipping 
posts (as rogues,) for their masters' pleasure, and sleeping, in 
sties worse than hogs in England. . . ." 68 As Professor Harlow 
concludes, the weight of evidence proves incontestably that 
the conditions under which white labor was procured and 
utilized in Barbados were "persistently severe, occasionally dis- 
honourable^nd generally a disgrace to the English name." 09 

English officialdom, however, took the view that servitude 
was not too bad, and the servant in Jamaica was better off than 
the husbandman in England. "It is a place as grateful to you for 
trade as any part of the world. Tt is not so odious as it is 
represented." 70 But there was some sensitiveness on the ques- 
tion. The Lords of Trade and Plantations, in 1676, opposed the 
use of the word "servitude" as a mark of bondage and slavery, 
and suggested "service" instead. 71 The institution was not af- 
fected by the change. The hope has been expressed that the 
white servants were spared the lash so liberally bestowed upon 
their Negro comrades. 72 They had no such good fortune. Since 
they were bound for a limited period, the planter had less 
interest in their welfare than in that of the Negroes who were 
perpetual servants and therefore "the most useful appurte- 
nances" of a plantation. 73 Eddis found the Negroes "almost in 
every instance, under more comfortable circumstances than the 
miserable European, over whom the rigid planter exercises an 
inflexible severity." 74 The servants were regarded by the 
planters as "white trash," and were bracketed with the Negroes 
as laborers. "Not one of these colonies ever was or ever can be 
brought to any considerable improvement without a supply of 
white servants and Negroes," declared the Council of Mont- 
serrat in i68o. 75 In a European society in which subordination 
was considered essential, in which Burke could speak of the 
working classes as "miserable sheep" and Voltaire as "canaille," 


and Linguet condemn the worker to the use of his physical 
strength alone, for "everything would be lost once he knew 
that he had a mind" 76 in such a society it is unnecessary to 
seek for apologies for the condition of the white servant in the 

Defoe bluntly stated that the white servant was a slave. 77 He 
was not. The servant's loss of liberty was of limited duration, 
the Negro was slave for life. The servant's status could not 
descend to his offspring, Negro children took the status of the 
mother. The master at no time had absolute control over the 
person and liberty of his servant as he had over his slave. The 
servant had rights, limited but recognized by law and inserted 
in a contract. He enjoyed, for instance, a limited right to 
property. In actual law the conception of the servant a a 
piece of property never went beyond that of personal estate 
and never reached the stage of a chattel or real estate. The laws 
in the colonies maintained this rigid distinction and visited co- 
habitation between the races with severe penalties. The servant 
could aspire, at the end of his term, to a plot of land, though, 
as Wertenbaker points out for Virginia, it was not a legal 
right, 78 and conditions varied from colony to colony. The serf 
in Europe could therefore hope for an early freedom in 
America which villeinage could not afford. The freed servants 
became small yeomen farmers, settled in the back country, a 
democratic force in a society of large aristocratic plantation 
owners, and were the pioneers in westward expansion. That 
was why Jefferson in America, as Saco in Cuba, favored the in- 
troduction of European servants instead of African slaves as 
tending to democracy rather than aristocracy. 79 

The institution of white servitude, however, had grave dis- 
advantages. Postlethwayt, a rigid mercantilist, argued that white 
laborers in the colonies would tend to create rivalry with the 
mother country in manufacturing. Better black slaves on 
plantations than white servants in industry, which would en- 
courage aspirations to independence. 80 The supply moreover 
was becoming increasingly difficult, and the need of the planta- 
tions outstripped the English convictions. In addition, mer- 
chants were involved in many vexatious and costly proceedings 


arising from people signifying their willingness to emigrate, ac- 
cepting food and clothes in advance, and then sueing for un- 
lawful detention. 81 Indentured servants were not forthcoming 
in sufficient quantities to replace those who had served their 
term. On the plantations, escape was easy for the white servant; 
less easy for the Negro who, if freed, tended, in self-defence, to 
stay in his locality where he was well known and less likely to 
be apprehended as a vagrant or runaway slave. The servant ex- 
pected land at the end of his contract; the Negro, in a strange 
environment, conspicuous by his color and features, and igno- 
rant of the white man's language and ways, could be kept 
permanently divorced from the land. Racial differences made it 
easier to justify and rationalize Negro slavery, to exact the 
mechanical obedience of a plough-ox or a cart-horse, to demand 
that resignation and that complete moral and intellectual sub- 
jection which alone make slave labor possible. Finally, and this 
was the decisive factor, the Negro slave was cheaper. The 
money which procured a white man's services for ten years 
could buy a Negro for life. 82 As the governor of Barbados 
stated, the Barbadian planters found by experience that "three 
blacks work better and cheaper than one white man." 83 

But the experience with white servitude had been invaluable. 
Kidnaping in Africa encountered no such difficulties as were 
encountered in England. Captains and ships had the experience 
of the one trade to guide them in the other. Bristol, the center 
of the servant trade, became one of the centers of the slave 
trade. Capital accumulated from the one financed the other. 
White servitude was the historic base upon which Negro 
slavery was constructed. The felon-drivers in the plantations 
became without effort slave-drivers. "In significant numbers," 
writes Professor Phillips, "the Africans were latecomers fitted 
into a system already developed." 84 

Here, then, is the origin of Negro slavery. The reason was 
economic, not racial; it had to do not with the color of the 
laborer, but the cheapness of the labor. As compared with 
Indian and white labor, Negro slavery was eminently superior. 
"In each case," writes Bassett, discussing North Carolina, "it 


was a survival of the fittest. Both Indian slavery and white 
servitude were to go down before the black man's superior 
endurance, docility, and labor capacity.' 7 85 The features of the 
man, his hair, color and dentifrice, his "subhuman" charac- 
teristics so widely pleaded, were only the later rationalizations 
to justify a simple economic fact: that the colonies needed labor 
and resorted to Negro labor because it was cheapest and best. 
This was not a theory, it was a practical conclusion deduced 
from the personal experience of the planter. He would have 
gone to the moon, if necessary, for labor. Africa was nearer 
than the moon, nearer too than the more populous countries of 
India and China. But their turn was to come. 

This white servitude is of cardinal importance for an under- 
standing of the development of the New World and the 
Negro's place in that development. It completely explodes the 
old myth that the whites could not stand the strain of manual 
labor in the climate of the New World and that, for this 
reason and this reason alone, the European powers had re- 
course to Africans. The argument is quite untenable. A Missis- 
sippi dictum will have it that "only black men and mules can 
face the sun in July." But the whites faced the sun for well 
over a hundred years in Barbados, and the Salzburgers of 
Georgia indignantly denied that rice cultivation was harmful 
to them. 80 The Caribbean islands are well within the tropical 
zone, but their climate is more equable than tropical, the tem- 
perature rarely exceeds 80 degrees though it remains uniform 
the whole year round, and they are exposed to the gentle winds 
from the sea. The unbearable humidity of an August day in 
some parts of the United States has no equal in the islands. 
Moreover only the southern tip of Florida in the United States 
is actually tropical, yet Negro labor flourished in Virginia and 
Carolina. The southern parts of the United States are not hotter 
than South Italy or Spain, and de Tocqueville asked why the 
European could not work there as well as in those two coun- 
tries? 87 When Whitney invented his cotton gin, it was confi- 
dently expected that cotton would be produced by free labor on 
small farms, and it was, in fact, so produced. 88 Where the white 
farmer was ousted, the enemv was not the climate but the slave 


plantation, and the white farmer moved westward, until the 
expanding plantation sent him on his wanderings again. Writ- 
ing in 1857, Weston pointed out that labor in the fields of the 
extreme South and all the heavy outdoor work in New Orleans 
were performed by whites, without any ill consequences. "No 
part of the continental borders of the Gulf of Mexico," he 
wrote, "and none of the islands which separate it from the 
ocean, need be abandoned to the barbarism of negro slavery." 89 
In our own time we who have witnessed the dispossession of 
Negroes by white sharecroppers in the South and the mass 
migration of Negroes from the South to the colder climates of 
Detroit, New York, Pittsburgh and other industrial centers of 
the North, can no longer accept the convenient rationalization 
that Negro labor was employed on the slave plantations be- 
cause the climatS was too rigorous for the constitution of the 
white man. 

A constant and steady emigration of poor whites from Spain 
to Cuba, to the very end of Spanish dominion, characterized 
Spanish colonial policy. Fernando Ortiz has drawn a striking 
contrast between the role of tobacco and sugar in Cuban his- 
tory. Tobacco was a free white industry intensively cultivated 
on small farms; sugar was a black slave industry extensively 
cultivated on large plantations. He further compared the free 
Cuban tobacco industry with its slave Virginian counterpart. 00 
What determined the difference was not climate but the eco- 
nomic structure of the two areas. The whites could hardly 
have endured the tropical heat of Cuba and succumbed to the 
tropical heat of Barbados. In Puerto Rico, the jibaro, the poor 
. white peasant, is still the basic type, demonstrating, in the 
words of Grenfell Price, how erroneous is the belief that after 
three generations the white man cannot breed in the tropics. 91 
Similar white communities have survived in the Caribbean, from 
the earliest settlements right down to our own times, in the 
Dutch West Indian islands of Saba and St. Martin. For some 
sixty years French settlers have lived in St. Thomas not only 
as fishermen but as agriculturalists, forming today the "largest 
single farming class" in the island. 92 As Dr. Price concludes: 
"It appears that northern whites can retain a fair standard for 


generations in the trade- wind tropics if the location is free from 
the worst forms of tropical disease, if the economic return is 
adequate, and if the community is prepared to undertake hard, 
physical work." 03 Over one hundred years ago a number of 
German emigrants settled in Seaford, Jamaica. They survive 
today, with no visible signs of deterioration, flatly contradict- 
ing the popular belief as to the possibility of survival of the 
northern white in the tropics. 94 Wherever, in short, tropical 
agriculture remained on a small farming basis, whites not only 
survived but prospered. Where the whites disappeared, the 
cause was not the climate but the supersession of the small farm 
by the large plantation, with its consequent demand for a large 
and steady supply of labor. 

The climatic theory of the plantation is thus nothing but a 
rationalization. In an excellent essay on the subject Professor 
Edgar Thompson writes: "The plantation is not to be ac- 
counted for by climate. It is a political institution." It is, we 
might add, more: it is an economic institution. The climatic 
theory "is part of an ideology which rationalizes and natural- 
izes an existing social and economic order, and this everywhere 
seems to be an order in which there is a race problem." 95 

The history of Australia clinches the argument. Nearly half 
of this island continent lies within the tropical zone. In part of 
this tropical area, the state of Queensland, the chief crop is 
sugar. When the industry began to develop, Australia had a 
choice of two alternatives: black labor or white labor. The 
commonwealth began its sugar cultivation in the usual way 
with imported black labor from the Pacific islands. Increasing 
demands, however, were made for a white Australia policy, and 
in the twentieth century non-white immigration was pro- 
hibited. It is irrelevant to consider here that as a result the cost 
of production of Australian sugar is prohibitive, that the in- 
dustry is artificial and survives only behind the Chinese wall 
of Australian autarchy. Australia was willing to pay a high 
price in order to remain a white man's country. Our sole con- 
cern here with the question is that this price was paid from the 
pockets of the Australian consumer and not in the physical de- 
generation of the Australian worker. 


Labor in the Queensland sugar industry today is wholly 
white. "Queensland," writes H. L. Wilkinson, "affords the only 
example in the world of European colonization in the tropics 
on an extensive scale. It does more; it shows a large European 
population doing the whole of the work of its civilization from 
the meanest service, and most exacting manual labor, to the 
highest form of intellectualism." 96 To such an extent has science 
exploded superstition that Australian scientists today argue 
that the only condition on which white men and women can 
remain healthy in the tropics is that they must engage in hard 
manual work. Where they have done so, as in Queensland, 
"the most rigorous scientific examination," according to the 
Australian Medical Congress in 1920, "failed to show any or- 
ganic changes in white residents which enabled them to be dis- 
tinguished from residents of temperate climates." 97 

Negro slavery, thus, had nothing to do with climate. Its 
origin can be expressed in three words: in the Caribbean, Sugar; 
on the mainland, Tobacco and Cotton. A change in the eco- 
nomic structure produced a corresponding change in the labor 
supply. The fundamental fact was "the creation of an inferior 
social and economic organization of exploiters and exploited." 98 
Sugar, tobacco, and cotton required the large plantation and 
hordes of cheap labor, and the small farm of the ex-indentured 
white servant could not possibly survive. The tobacco of the 
small farm in Barbados was displaced by the sugar of the large 
plantation. The rise of the sugar industry in the Caribbean was 
the signal for a gigantic dispossession of the small farmer. Bar- 
bados in 1645 had 11,200 small white farmers and 5,680 Negro 
slaves; in 1667 there were 745 large plantation owners and 
82,023 slaves. In 1645 t ^e island had 18,300 whites fit to bear 
arms, in 1667 only 8,300." The white farmers were squeezed 
out. The planters continued to offer inducements to new- 
comers, but they could no longer offer the main inducement, 
land. White servants preferred the other islands where they 
could hope for land, to Barbados, where they were sure there 
was none. 100 In desperation the planters proposed legislation 
which would prevent a landowner from purchasing more land, 


compel Negroes and servants to wear dimity manufactured in 
Barbados (what would English mercantilists have said?) to 
provide employment for the poor whites, and prevent Negroes 
from being taught a trade. 101 The governor of Barbados in 1695 
drew a pitiful picture of these ex-servants. Without fresh meat 
or rum, "they are domineered over and used like dogs, and this 
in time will undoubtedly drive away all the commonalty of the 
white people." His only suggestion was to give the right to 
elect members of the Assembly to every white man owning 
two acres of land. Candidates for election would "sometimes 
give the poor miserable creatures a little rum and fresh pro- 
visions and such things as would be of nourishment to them," 
in order to get their votes and elections were held every 
year. 102 It is not surprising that the exodus continued. 

The poor whites began their travels, disputing their way all 
over the Caribbean, from Barbados to Nevis, to Antigua, and 
thence to Guiana and Trinidad, and ultimately Carolina. Every- 
where they were pursued and dispossessed by the same inexo- 
rable economic force, sugar; and in Carolina they were safe 
from cotton only for a hundred years. Between 1672 and 1708 
the white men in Nevis decreased by more than three-fifths, the 
black population more than doubled. Between 1672 and 1727 
the white males of Montserrat declined by more than two- 
thirds, in the same period the black population increased more 
than eleven times. 103 "The more they buie," said the Barbadians, 
referring to their slaves, "the more they are able to buye, for in 
a yeare and a halfe they will earne with God's blessing as much 
as they cost." 104 King Sugar had begun his depredations, chang- 
ing flourishing commonwealths of small farmers into vast sugar 
factories owned by a camarilla of absentee capitalist magnates 
and worked by a mass of alien proletarians. The plantation 
economy had no room for poor whites; the proprietor or over- 
seer, a physician on the more prosperous plantations, possibly 
their families, these were sufficient. "If a state," wrote Weston, 
"could be supposed to be made up of continuous plantations, 
the white race would be not merely starved out, but literally 
squeezed out." 105 The resident planters, apprehensive of the 
growing disproportion between whites and blacks, passed De- 


ficiency Laws to compel absentees, under penalty of fines, to 
keep white servants. The absentees preferred to pay the fines. 
In the West Indies today the poor whites survive in the "Red- 
legs" of Barbados, pallid, weak and depraved from in-breeding, 
strong rum, insufficient food and abstinence from manual labor. 
For, as Merivale wrote, "in a country where Negro slavery 
prevails extensively, no white is industrious." 106 

It was the triumph, not of geographical conditions, as Har- 
low contends, 107 but of economic. The victims were the 
Negroes in Africa and the small white farmers. The increase of 
wealth for the few whites was as phenomenal as the increase of 
misery for the many blacks. The Barbados crops in 1650, 
over a twenty-month period, were worth over three million 
pounds, 108 about fifteen millions in modern money. In 1666 
Barbados was computed to be seventeen times as rich as it had 
been before the planting of sugar. "The buildings in 1643 were 
mean, with things only for necessity, but in 1666, plate, jewels, 
and household stuff were estimated at 500,000, their buildings 
very fair and beautiful, and their houses like castles, their sugar 
houses and negroes huts show themselves from the sea like so 
many small towns, each defended by its castle." 109 The price of 
land skyrocketed. A plantation of five hundred acres which 
sold for 400 in 1640 fetched 7,000 for a half-share in i648. 110 
The estate of one Captain Waterman, comprising eight hundred 
acres, had at one time been split up among no less than forty 
proprietors. 111 For sugar was and is essentially a capitalist un- 
dertaking, involving not only agricultural operations but the 
crude stages of refining as well. A report on the French sugar 
islands stated that to make ten hogsheads of sugar required as 
great an expenditure in beasts of burden, mills and utensils as 
to make a hundred. 112 James Knight of Jamaica estimated that 
it required four hundred acres to start a sugar plantation. 118 
According to Edward Long, another planter and the historian 
of the island, it needed 5,000 to start a small plantation of 
three hundred acres, producing from thirty to fifty hogsheads 
of sugar a year, 14,000 for a plantation of the same size pro- 
ducing one hundred hogsheads. 114 There could be only two 
classes in such a society, wealthy planters and oppressed slaves. 


The moral is reinforced by a consideration of the history of 
Virginia, where the plantation economy was based not on 
sugar but on tobacco. The researches of Professor Werten- 
baker have exploded the legend that Virginia from the outset 
was an aristocratic dominion. In the early seventeenth century 
about two-thirds of the landholders had neither slaves nor in- 
dentured servants. The strength of the colony lay in its numer- 
ous white yeomanry. Conditions became worse as the market 
for tobacco was glutted by Spanish competition and the Vir- 
ginians demanded in wrath that something be done about 
"those petty English plantations in the savage islands in the 
West Indies" through which quantities of Spanish tobacco 
reached England. 115 None the less, though prices continued to 
fall, the exports of Virginia and Maryland increased more than 
six times between 1663 and 1699. The explanation lay in two 
words Negro slavery, which cheapened the cost of produc- 
tion. Negro slaves, one-twentieth of the population in 1670, 
were one-fourth in 1730. "Slavery, from being an insignificant 
factor in the economic life of the colony, had become the very 
foundation upon which it was established." There was still 
room in Virginia, as there was not in Barbados, for the small 
farmer, but land was useless to him if he could not compete 
with slave labor. So the Virginian peasant, like the Barbadian, 
was squeezed out. "The Virginia which had formerly been so 
largely the land of the little farmer, had become the land of 
Masters and Slaves. For aught else there was no room." 116 

The whole future history of the Caribbean is nothing more 
than a dotting of the i's and a crossing of the t's. It happened 
earlier in the British and French than in the Spanish islands, 
where the process was delayed until the advent of the dollar 
diplomacy of our own time. Under American capital we have 
witnessed the transformation of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the 
Dominican Republic into huge sugar factories (though the large 
plantation, especially in Cuba, was not unknown under the 
Spanish regime), owned abroad and operated by alien labor, on 
the British West Indian pattern. That this process is taking place 
with free labor and in nominally independent areas (Puerto 
Rico excepted) helps us to see in its true light the first im- 


portation of Negro slave labor in the British Caribbean a 
phase in the history of the plantation. In the words of Professor 
Phillips, the plantation system was u less dependent upon slavery 
than slavery was upon it. ... The plantation system formed, so 
to speak, the industrial and social frame of government . . ., 
while slavery was a code of written laws enacted for that pur- 
pose." 317 

Where the plantation did not develop, as in the Cuban 
tobacco industry, Negro labor was rare and white labor pre- 
dominated. The liberal section of the Cuban population con- 
sistently advocated the cessation of the Negro slave trade and 
the introduction of white immigrants. Saco, mouthpiece of the 
liberals, called for the immigration of workers "white and free, 
from all parts of the world, of all races, provided they have a 
white face and can do honest labor." 118 Sugar defeated Saco. 
It was the sugar plantation, with its servile base, which retarded 
white immigration in nineteenth century Cuba as it had banned 
it in seventeenth century Barbados and eighteenth century 
Saint Domingue. No sugar, no Negroes. In Puerto Rico, which 
developed relatively late as a genuine plantation, and where, 
before the American regime, sugar never dominated the lives 
and thoughts of the population as it did elsewhere, the poor 
white peasants survived and the Negro slaves never exceeded 
fourteen per cent of the population. 119 Saco wanted to "whiten" 
the Cuban social structure. 120 Negro slavery blackened that 
structure all over the Caribbean while the blood of the Negro 
slaves reddened the Atlantic and both its shores. Strange that 
an article like sugar, so sweet and necessary to human existence, 
should have occasioned such crimes and bloodshed! 

After emancipation the British planters thought of white im- 
migration, even convicts. The governor of British Guiana 
wrote in glowing terms in 1845 about Portuguese immigrants 
from Madeira. 121 But though the Portuguese came in large 
numbers, as is attested by their strength even today in Trinidad 
and British Guiana, they preferred retail trade to plantation 
labor. The governor of Jamaica was somewhat more cautious 
in his opinion of British and Irish immigrants. Sickness had 
broken out, wages were too low, the experiment could only 


be partially useful in making an immediate addition to the labor- 
ing population, and therefore indiscriminate importation was 
inadvisable. 122 The European immigrants in St. Christopher be- 
wailed their fate piteously, and begged to be permitted to re- 
turn home. "There is not the slightest reluctance on our part 
to continue in the island for an honest livelihood by pleasing 
our employers by our industrious labour if the climate agreed 
with us, but unfortunately it do not; and we are much afraid 
if we continue longer in this injurious hot climate (the West 
Indies) death will be the consequence to the principal part of 

us " 123 

It was not the climate which was against the experiment. 
Slavery had created the pernicious tradition that manual labor 
was the badge of the slave and the sphere of influence of the 
Negro. The first thought of the Negro slave after emancipation 
was to desert the plantation, where he could, and set up for 
himself where land was available. White plantation workers 
could hardly have existed in a society side by side with Negro 
peasants. The whites would have prospered if small farms had 
been encouraged. But the abolition of slavery did not mean the 
destruction of the sugar plantation. The emancipation of the 
Negro and the inadequacy of the white worker put the sugar 
planter back to where he had been in the seventeenth century. 
He still needed labor. Then he had moved from Indian to white 
to Negro. Now, deprived of his Negro, he turned back to 
white and then to Indian, this time the Indian from the East. 
India replaced Africa; between 1833 and 1917, Trinidad im- 
ported 145,000 East Indians* and British Guiana 238,000. The 
pattern was the same for the other Caribbean colonies. Be- 
tween 1854 and 1883 39,000 Indians were introduced into 
Guadeloupe; between 1853 and 1924, over 22,000 laborers from 
the Dutch East Indies and 34,000 from British India were 
carried to Dutch Guiana. 124 Cuba, faced with a shortage of 
Negro slaves, adopted the interesting experiment of using 

*This is the correct West Indian description. It is quite incorrect to 
call them, as is done in this country, "Hindus." Not all East Indians are 
Hindus. There are many Moslems in the West Indies. 


Negro slaves side by side with indentured Chinese coolies, 125 
and after emancipation turned to the teeming thousands of 
Haiti and the British West Indies. Between 1913 and 1924 Cuba 
imported 217,000 laborers from Haiti, Jamaica and Puerto 
Rico. 126 What Saco wrote a hundred years ago was still true, 
sixty years after Cuba's abolition of slavery. 

Negro slavery therefore was only a solution, in certain his- 
torical circumstances, of the Caribbean labor problem. Sugar 
meant labor at times that labor has been slave, at other times 
nominally free; at times black, at other times white or brown 
or yellow. Slavery in no way implied, in any scientific sense, 
the inferiority of the Negro. Without it the great development 
of the Caribbean sugar plantations, between 1650 and 1850, 
would have been impossible. 

2 - 


THE NEGRO SLAVES were "the strength and sinews of this west- 
tern world." 1 Negro slavery demanded the Negro slave trade. 
Therefore the preservation and improvement of the trade to 
Africa was "a matter of very high importance to this kingdom 
and the plantations thereunto belonging." 2 And thus it re- 
mained, up to 1783, a cardinal object of British foreign policy. 

The first English slave-trading expedition was that of Sir 
John Hawkins in 1562. Like so many Elizabethan ventures, it 
was a buccaneering expedition, encroaching on the papal ar- 
bitration of 1493 which made Africa a Portuguese monopoly. 
The slaves obtained were sold to the Spaniards in the West 
Indies. The English slave trade remained desultory and per- 
functory in character until the establishment of British colonies 
in the Caribbean and the introduction of the sugar industry. 
When by 1660 the political and social upheavals of the Civil 
War period came to an end, England was ready to embark 
wholeheartedly on a branch of commerce whose importance 
to her sugar and her tobacco colonies in the New World was 
beginning to be fully appreciated. 

In accordance with the economic policies of the Stuart 
monarchy, the slave trade was entrusted to a monopolistic com- 
pany, the Company of Royal Adventurers trading" to Africa, 



incorporated in 1663 for a period of one thousand years. The 
Earl of Clarendon voiced the enthusiasm current at the time, 
that the company would "be found a model equally to ad- 
vance the trade of England with that of any other company, 
even that of the East Indies." 8 The optimistic prediction was 
not realized, largely as a result of losses and dislocations caused 
by war with the Dutch, and in 1672 a new company, the 
Royal African Company, was created. 

The policy of monopoly however remained unchanged and 
provoked determined resistance in two quarters the merchants 
in the outports, struggling to break down the monopoly of the 
capital; and the planters in the colonies, demanding free trade 
in blacks as vociferously and with as much gusto as one hun- 
dred and fifty years later they opposed free trade in sugar. The 
mercantilist intelligentsia were divided on the question. Postle- 
thwayt, most prolific of the mercantilist writers, wanted the 
company, the whole company and nothing but the company. 4 
Joshua Gee emphasized the frugality and good management of 
the private trader. 5 Davenant, one of the ablest economists and 
financial experts of his day, at first opposed the monopoly, 6 and 
then later changed his mind, arguing that other nations found 
organized companies necessary, and that the company would 
"stand in place of an academy, for training an indefinite number 
of people in the regular knowledge of all matters relating to 
the several branches of the African trade." 7 

The case against monopoly was succinctly stated by the free 
traders or interlopers as they were then called to the Board 
of Trade in 1711. The monopoly meant that the purchase of 
British manufactures for sale on the coast of Africa, control 
of ships employed in the slave trade, sale of Negroes to the 
plantations, importation of plantation produce "this great 
circle of trade and navigation," on which the livelihood, direct 
and indirect, of many thousands depended, would be under 
the control of a single company. 8 The planters in their turn 
complained of the quality, prices, and irregular deliveries, and 
refused to pay their debts to the company. 9 

There was nothing unique in this opposition to the monopoly 
of the slave trade. Monopoly was an ugly word, which con- 


jured up memories of the political tyranny of Charles I, 
though no "free trader" of the time could have had the slight- 
est idea of the still uglier visions the word would conjure up 
one hundred and fifty years later when it was associated with 
the economic tyranny of the West Indian sugar planter. But in 
the last decade of the seventeenth century the economic cur- 
rent was flowing definitely against monopoly. In 1672 the 
Baltic trade was thrown open and the monopoly of the East- 
land Company overthrown. One of the most important con- 
sequences of the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the expulsion 
of the Stuarts was the impetus it gave to the principle of free 
trade. In 1698 the Royal African Company lost its monopoly 
and the right of a free trade in slaves was recognized as a funda- 
mental and natural right of Englishmen. In the same year the 
Merchant Adventurers of London were deprived of their 
monopoly of the export trade in cloth, and a year later the 
monopoly of the Muscovy Company was abrogated and trade 
to Russia made free. Only in one particular did the freedom 
accorded in the slave trade differ from the freedom accorded in 
other trades the commodity involved was man. 

The Royal African Company was powerless against the 
competition of the free traders. It soon went bankrupt and had 
to depend on parliamentary subsidy. In 1731 it abandoned the 
slave trade and confined itself to the trade in ivory and gold 
dust. In 1750 a new organization was established, called the 
Company of Merchants trading to Africa, with a board of nine 
directors, three each from London, Bristol and Liverpool. Of 
the slave traders listed in 1755, 237 belonged to Bristol, 147 to 
London, and 89 to Liverpool. 10 

With free trade and the increasing demands of the sugar 
plantations, the volume of the British slave trade rose enor- 
mously. The Royal African Company, between 1680 and 1686, 
transported an annual average of 5,000 slaves. 11 In the first nine 
years of free trade Bristol alone shipped 160,950 Negroes to the 
sugar plantations. 12 In 1760, 146 ships sailed from British ports 
for Africa, with a capacity for 36,000 slaves; 18 in 1771, the 
number of ships had increased to 190 and the number of slaves 


to 47,ooo. 14 The importation into Jamaica from 1700 to 1786 was 
610,000, and it has been estimated that the total import of slaves 
into all the British colonies between 1680 and 1786 was over two 
million. 15 

But the slave trade was more than a means to an end, it was 
also an end in itself. The British slave traders provided the 
necessary laborers not only for their own plantations but for 
those of their rivals. The encouragement thereby given to 
foreigners was contrary not only to common sense but to strict 
mercantilism, but, in so far as this foreign slave trade meant the 
Spanish colonies, there was some defence for it. Spain was al- 
ways, up to the nineteenth century, dependent on foreigners 
for her slaves, either because she adhered to the papal arbitra- 
tion which excluded her from Africa, or because of a lack of 
capital and the necessary goods for the slave trade. The 
privilege of supplying these slaves to the Spanish colonies, 
called the Asiento, became one of the most highly coveted and 
bitterly contested plums of international diplomacy. British 
mercantilists defended the trade, legal or illegal, with the 
Spanish colonies, in Negroes and manufactured goods, as of 
distinct value in that the Spaniards paid in coin, and thus the 
supply of bullion in England was increased. The supply of 
slaves to the French colonies could plead no such justification. 
Here it was clearly a clash of interest between the British slave 
trader and the British sugar planter, as the trade in the export 
of British machinery after 1825 led to a clash of interests be- 
tween British shippers and British producers. 

The sugar planter was right and the slave trader wrong. But 
in the first half of the eighteenth century this was noticed only 
by the very discerning. Postlethwayt condemned the Asiento 
of 1713 as scandalous and ruinous, an exchange of the sub- 
stance for the shadow: "a treaty could scarce have been con- 
trived of so little benefit to the nation." 16 During the nine 
months of British occupation of Cuba in the Seven Years' War, 
10,700 slaves were introduced, over one-sixth of the importa- 
tions from 1512 to 1763, over one-third of the importations 
from 1763 to I789. 17 Forty thousand Negroes were introduced 
into Guadeloupe by the British in three years during the same 


war. 18 The Privy Council Committee of 1788 paid special at- 
tention to the fact that of the annual British export of slaves 
from Africa two-thirds were disposed of to foreigners. 19 Dur- 
ing the whole of the eighteenth century, according to Bryan 
Edwards, British slave traders furnished the sugar planters of 
France and Spain with half a million Negroes, justifying his 
doubts of "the wisdom and policy of this branch of the African 
commerce." 20 Britain was not only the foremost slave trading 
country in the world; she had become, in Ramsay 's phrase, the 
"honourable slave carriers" of her rivals. 21 

The story of this increase in the slave trade is mainly the 
story of the rise of Liverpool. Liverpool's first slave trader, a 
modest vessel of thirty tons, sailed for Africa in 1709. This was 
the first step on a road which, by the end of the century, 
gained Liverpool the distinction of being the greatest slave 
trading port in the Old World. Progress at first was slow. The 
town was more interested in the smuggling trade to the Spanish 
colonies and the tobacco trade. But, according to a historian 
of the town, it soon forged ahead by its policy of cutting down 
expenses to a minimum, which enabled it to undersell its Eng- 
lish and continental rivals. In 1730 it had fifteen ships in the 
slave trade; in 1771 seven times as many. The proportion of 
slave ships to the total shipping owned by the port was slightly 
over one in a hundred in 1709; in 1730 it was one-eleventh; in 
1763, one-fourth; in 1771, one-third. 22 In 1795 Liverpool had 
five-eighths of the British slave trade and three-sevenths of the 
whole European slave trade. 23 

The "horrors" of the Middle Passage have been exaggerated. 
For this the British abolitionists are in large part responsible. 
There is something that smacks of ignorance or hypocrisy or 
both in the invectives heaped by these men upon a traffic which 
had in their day become less profitable and less vital to Eng- 
land. A West Indian planter once reminded Parliament that 
it ill became the elected representative of a country which had 
pocketed the gains from the slave trade to stigmatize it as a 
crime. 24 The age which had seen the mortality among inden- 
tured servants saw no reason for squeamishness about the mor- 
tality among slaves, nor did the exploitation of the slaves on the 


plantations differ fundamentally from the exploitation of the 
feudal peasant or the treatment of the poor in European cities. 
Mutinies and suicides were obviously far more common on 
slave ships than on other vessels, and the brutal treatment and 
greater restrictions on the movements of the slaves would doubt- 
less have tended to increase their mortality. But the fundamen- 
tal causes of this high mortality on the slave ships, as on ships 
carrying indentured servants and even free passengers, must be 
found firstly in epidemics, the inevitable result of the long 
voyages and the difficulty of preserving food and water, and 
secondly in the practice of overcrowding the vessels. The sole 
aim of the slave merchants was to have their decks "well coverd 
with black ones." 25 It is not uncommon to read of a vessel of 
90 tons carrying 390 slaves or one of 100 tons carrying 4I4. 26 
Clarkson's investigations in Bristol revealed a sloop of twenty- 
five tons destined for seventy human beings, and another of a 
mere eleven tons for thirty slaves. 27 The space allotted to each 
slave on the Atlantic crossing measured five and a half feet in 
length by sixteen inches in breadth. Packed like "rows of books 
on shelves," as Clarkson said, chained two by two, right leg and 
left leg, right hand and left hand, each slave had less room than 
a man in a coffin. It was like the transportation of black cattle, 
and where sufficient Negroes were not available cattle were 
taken on. 28 The slave trader's aim was profit and not the com- 
fort of his victims, and a modest measure in 1788 to regulate 
the transportation of the slaves in accordance with the capacity 
of the vessel evoked a loud howl from the slave traders. "If the 
alteration takes place," wrote one to his agent, "it will hurt the 
trade, so hope you will make hay while the sun shines." 29 

The journal of one slave dealer during his residence in 
Africa admits that he had "found no place in all these several 
countrys of England, Ireland, America, Portugal!, the Caribes, 
the Cape de Verd, the Azores or all the places I have been in ... 
where I can inlarge my fortune so soon as where I now live." 
Money made the man. The prodigal who returned home empty- 
handed would have to be content with the common name of 
"the Mallato just come from Guinea." If, however, he returned 


with his pockets well stuffed with gold, "that very perticular 
hides all other infirmities, then you have hapes of frinds of all 
kinds thronging and wateing for your commands. Then your 
known by the name of 'the African gentleman' at every great 
man's house, and your discource is set down as perticular as 
Cristopher Culumbus's expedition in America." 80 

About 1730 in Bristol it was estimated that on a fortunate 
voyage the profit on a cargo of about 270 slaves reached 7,000 
or 8,000, exclusive of the returns from ivory. In the same year 
the net return from an "indifferent" cargo which arrived in 
poor condition was over 5,7oo. 31 Profits of 100 per cent were 
not uncommon in Liverpool, and one voyage netted a clear 
profit of at least 300 per cent. The Lively, fitted out in 1737 
with a cargo worth 1,307, returned to Liverpool with colonial 
produce and bills of exchange totalling 3,080, in addition to 
cotton and sugar remitted later. The Ann, another Liverpool 
ship, sailed in 1751 with an outfit and a cargo costing 1,604; 
altogether the voyage produced 3,287 net. A second voyage 
in 1753 produced 8,000 on a cargo and outfit amounting to 


An eighteenth century writer has estimated the sterling value 
of the 303,737 slaves carried in 878 Liverpool ships between 
1783 and 1793 at over fifteen million pounds. Deducting com- 
missions and other charges and the cost of the outfit of the 
ships and maintenance of the slaves, he concluded that the 
average annual profit was over thirty per cent. 33 Modern 
scholarship has tended to reproach contemporary observers 
with undue exaggeration. But even taking the reduced estimates 
of Professor Dumbell, the net profit of the Enterprise in 1803, 
estimated on cost of outfit and cost of cargo, was 38 per cent, 
while that of the fortune in 1803, for a cargo of poor slaves, 
was over 16 per cent. Again with these reduced estimates the 
profit of the Lottery in 1802 was thirty-six pounds per slave, 
the Enterprise sixteen pounds, and the fortune five. 34 The 
slave trade on the whole was estimated to bring Liverpool 
alone in the eighties a clear profit of 300,000 a year; and it was 
a common saying in the town of the far less profitable West 
Indian trade that if one ship in three came in a man was no 


loser, while if two came in he was a good gainer. On an aver- 
age only one ship in five miscarried. 35 

Such profits seem small and insignificant compared with the 
fabulous five thousand per cent the Dutch East India Company 
cleared at times in its history. It is even probable that the profits 
from the slave trade were smaller than those made by the 
British East India Company. Yet these trades were far less im- 
portant than the slave trade. The explanation lies in the fact 
that from the mercantilist standpoint the India trade was a bad 
trade. It drained Britain of bullion to buy unnecessary wares, 
which led many at the time to think that "it were a happie 
thing for Christendome that the navigation to the East Indies, 
by way of the Cape of Good Hope, had never bene found 
out." 36 The slave trade, on the contrary, was ideal in that it was 
carried on by means of British manufactured goods and was, 
as far as the British colonies were concerned, inseparably con- 
nected with the plantation trade which rendered Britain in- 
dependent of foreigners for her supply of tropical products. 
The enormous profits of the Dutch spice trade, moreover, were 
based on a severe restriction of production to ensure high 
prices, whereas the slave trade created British industry at home 
and tropical agriculture in the colonies. 

The "attractive African meteor," 37 as a contemporary Liver- 
pool historian called it, therefore became immensely popular. 
Though a large part of the Liverpool slave traffic was monop- 
olized by about ten large firms, many of the small vessels in the 
trade were fitted out by attorneys, drapers, grocers, barbers 
and tailors. The shares in the ventures were subdivided, one 
having one-eighth, another one-fifteenth, a third one-thirty- 
second part of a share and so on. "Almost every man in Liver- 
pool is a merchant, and he who cannot send a bale will send a 
band-box . . . almost every order of people is interested in a 
Guinea cargo, it is to this influenza that (there are) so many 
small ships." 38 

The purchase of slaves called for a business sense and shrewd 
discrimination. An Angolan Negro was a proverb for worth- 
lessness; Coromantines (Ashantis), from the Gold Coast, were 
good workers but too rebellious; Mandingoes (Senegal) were 


too prone to theft; the Eboes (Nigeria) were timid and de- 
spondent; the Pawpaws or Whydahs (Dahomey) were the 
most docile and best-disposed. 39 The slaves were required for 
arduous field work, hence women and children were less val- 
uable than robust males, the former because they were liable to 
interruptions from work through pregnancies, the latter because 
they required some attention until able to care for themselves. 
One Liverpool merchant cautioned his agents against buying 
ruptured slaves, idiots or any "old spider leged quality." 40 A 
West Indian poet advised the slave trader to see that the slave's 
tongue was red, his chest broad and his belly not prominent. 41 
Buy them young, counselled one overseer from Nevis; "them 
full grown fellers think it hard to work never being brought 
up to it they take it to heart and dye or is never good for any 
thing...." 42 

But the slave trade was always a risky business. "The African 
Commerce," it was written in 1795, "holds forward one con- 
stant train of uncertainty, the time of slaving is precarious, the 
length of the middle passage uncertain, a vessel may be in part, 
or wholly cut off, mortalities may be great, and various other 
incidents may arise impossible to be foreseen." 43 Sugar cultiva- 
tion, moreover, was a lottery. The debts of the planters, their 
bankruptcies and demand for long credits gave the merchants 
many worries. "As you know," wrote one of them, "quick 
dispatch is the life of trade, I have had many anxious hours this 
year, I wou'd not wish the same again for double the profits I 
may get if any." 44 From 1763 to 1778 the London merchants 
avoided all connection with the Liverpool slave traders, on the 
conviction that the slave trade was being conducted at a loss; 
between 1772 and 1778 the Liverpool merchants were alleged 
to have lost 7oo,ooo. 45 Of thirty leading houses which domi- 
nated the slave trade from 1773, twelve had by 1788 gone bank- 
rupt, while many others had sustained considerable losses. 46 
The American Revolution seriously interrupted the trade. "Our 
once extensive trade to Africa is at a stand," lamented a Liver- 
pool paper in 1775. Her "gallant ships laid up and useless," 
Liverpool's slave traders turned to privateering, 47 anxiously 
awaiting the return of peace, with never a thought that they 


were witnessing the death rattles of an old epoch and the birth 
pangs of a new. 

Prior to 1783, however, all classes in English society pre- 
sented a united front with regard to the slave trade. The mon- 
archy, the government, the church, public opinion in general, 
supported the slave trade. There were few protests, and those 
were ineffective. 

The Spanish monarchy set the fashion which European 
royalty followed to the very last. The palace-fortresses of 
Madrid and Toledo were built out of the payment to the 
Spanish Crown for licences to transport Negroes. One meeting 
of the two sovereigns of Spain and Portugal was held in 1701 
to discuss the arithmetical problem posed by a contract for ten 
thousand "tons" of Negroes granted the Portuguese. 48 The 
Spanish queen, Christina, in the middle of the nineteenth cen- 
tury, openly participated in the slave trade to Cuba. The royal 
court of Portugal, when it moved to Brazil to avoid capture by 
Napoleon, did not find the slave atmosphere of its colonial 
territory uncongenial. Louis XIV fully appreciated the im- 
portance of the slave trade to metropolitan France and France 
overseas. The plans of the Great Elector for Prussian aggran- 
dizement included the African slave trade. 49 

Hawkins 7 slave trading expedition was launched under the 
patronage of Queen Elizabeth. She expressed the hope that the 
Negroes would not be carried off without their free consent, 
which "would be detestable and call down the vengeance of 
Heaven upon the undertakers." But there was as much pos- 
sibility that the transportation of the Negroes would be effected 
in democratic fashion as there was of collective bargaining. The 
Company of Royal Adventurers and the Royal African Com- 
pany had, as their names imply, royal patronage and, not in- 
frequently, investments by members of the royal family. 60 Ac- 
cording to Wilberforce, George III later opposed abolition, 51 
and great was the joy of the Liverpool slave traders and 
Jamaican sugar planters when the royal Duke of Clarence, the 
future William IV, "took up the cudgills" against abolition 52 
and attacked Wilberforce as either a fanatic or a hyprocrite. 58 


The British government, prior to 1783, was uniformly con- 
sistent in its encouragement of the slave trade. The first great 
rivals were the Dutch, who monopolized the carrying trade of 
the British colonies. The bitter commercial warfare of the 
second half of the seventeenth century between England and 
Holland represented an effort on the part of England to break 
the commercial net the Dutch had woven about England and 
her colonies. "What we want," said Monk with military blunt- 
ness, "is more of the trade the Dutch now have." 54 Whether 
it was nominal peace or actual war, a sort of private war was 
maintained, for thirty years, between the Dutch West India 
Company and the Royal African Company. 

England's victory over Holland left her face to face with 
France. Anglo-French warfare, colonial and commercial, is the 
dominant theme in the history of the eighteenth century. It 
was a conflict of rival mercantilisms. The struggle was fought 
out in the Caribbean, Africa, India, Canada and on the banks 
of the Mississippi, for the privilege of looting India and for the 
control of certain vital and strategic commodities Negroes; 
sugar and tobacco; fish; furs and naval stores. 55 Of these areas 
the most important were the Caribbean and Africa; of these 
commodities the most important were Negroes and sugar. The 
outstanding single issue was the control of the Asiento. This 
privilege was conceded to England by the Treaty of Utrecht 
in 1713 as one result of her victory in the War of the Spanish 
Succession, and produced popular rejoicings in the country. It 
was the proud boast of Chatham that his war with France had 
given England almost the entire control of the African coast 
and of the slave trade. 

Colonial assemblies frequently impeded the slave traders by 
imposing high duties on imported slaves, partly to raise revenue, 
partly out of their fear of the growing slave population. All 
such laws were frustrated by the home government, on the in- 
sistence of British merchants, who opposed taxes on British 
trade. The Board of Trade ruled in 1 708 that it was "absolutely 
necessary that a trade so beneficial to the kingdom should be 
carried on to the greatest advantage. The well supplying of the 
plantations and colonies with a sufficient number of negroes at 


reasonable prices is in our opinion the chief point to be con- 
sidered." 56 In 1773 the Jamaica Assembly, for the purpose of 
raising revenue and to reduce the fear of slave rebellions, im- 
posed a duty on every Negro imported. The merchants of 
London, Liverpool and Bristol protested, and the Board of 
Trade condemned the law as unjustifiable, improper and preju- 
dicial to British commerce. The governor was sharply repri- 
manded for his failure to stop efforts made to "check and dis- 
courage a traffic so beneficial to the nation." 57 As counsel for 
the sugar planters later argued: "in every variation of our ad- 
ministration of public affairs, in every variation of parties, the 
policy, in respect to that trade, has been the same. ... In every 
period of our history, in almost every variation of our politics, 
each side and description of party men have, in terms, approved 
this very trade, voted its encouragement, and considered it as 
beneficial to the nation." 58 

Parliament appreciated the importance of slavery and the slave 
trade to Britain and her plantations. In 1750 Horace Walpole 
wrote scornfully of "the British Senate, that temple of liberty, 
and bulwark of Protestant Christianity, . . . pondering methods 
to make more effectual that horrid traffic of selling negroes." 58 
Parliament heard many debates in its stately halls over abolition 
and emancipation, and its records show the doughty defenders 
the slave traders and slave owners possessed. Among them was 
Edmund Burke. The champion of conciliation of America was 
an accessory to the crucifixion of Africa. In 1772 a bill came 
before the House of Commons to prohibit the control of the 
African Committee by outsiders who were not engaged in the 
slave trade. Burke protested, not against the slave trade, how- 
ever, but against depriving of the right to vote those who had 
legally purchased that right. Only a few, he argued, were so 
accused. "Ought we not rather to imitate the pattern set us in 
sacred writ, and if we find ten just persons among them, to 
spare the whole ? . . . Let us not then counteract the wisdom 
of our ancestors, who considered and reconsidered this subject, 
nor place upon the footing of a monopoly what was intended 
for a free trade." 60 Bristol could well afford to share in the 
general admiration of the great Liberal. 


The Church also supported the slave trade. The Spaniards 
saw in it an opportunity of converting the heathen, and the 
Jesuits, Dominicans and Franciscans were heavily involved in 
sugar cultivation which meant slave-holding. The story is told 
of an old elder of the Church in Newport who would in- 
variably, the Sunday following the arrival of a slaver from the 
coast, thank God that "another cargo of benighted beings had 
been brought to a land where they could have the benefit of a 
gospel dispensation." 61 But in general the British planters op- 
posed Christianity for their slaves. It made them more perverse 
and intractable and therefore less valuable. It meant also instruc- 
tion in the English language, which allowed diverse tribes to 
get together and plot sedition. 62 There were more material 
reasons for this opposition. The governor of Barbados in 1695 
attributed it to the planters' refusal to give the slaves Sundays 
and feast days off, 63 and as late as 1823 British public opinion 
was shocked by the planters' rejection of a proposal to give the 
Negroes one day in the week in order to permit the abolition 
of the Negro Sunday market. 64 The Church obediently toed 
the line. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel pro- 
hibited Christian instruction to its slaves in Barbados, 66 and 
branded "Society" on its new slaves to distinguish them from 
those of the laity; 66 the original slaves were the legacy of 
Christopher Codrington. 67 Sherlock, later Bishop of London, 
assured the planters that "Christianity and the embracing of the 
Gospel does not make the least difference in civil property." 68 
Neither did it impose any barriers to clerical activity; for his 
labors with regard to the Asiento, which he helped to draw up 
as a British plenipotentiary at Utrecht, Bishop Robinson of 
Bristol was promoted to the see of London. 69 The bells of the 
Bristol churches pealed merrily on the news of the rejection by 
Parliament of Wilberforce's bill for the abolition of the slave 
trade. 70 The slave trader, John Newton, gave thanks in the 
Liverpool churches for the success of his last venture before 
his conversion and implored God's blessing on his next. He es- 
tablished public worship twice every day on his slaver, of- 
ficiating himself, and kept a day of fasting and prayer, not for 
the slaves but for the crew. "I never knew," he confessed, 


"sweeter or more frequent hours of divine communion than in 
the last two voyages to Guinea." 71 The famous Cardinal Mann- 
ing of the nineteenth century was the son of a rich West 
Indian merchant dealing in slave-grown produce. 77 Many mis- 
sionaries found it profitable to drive out Beelzebub by Beelze- 
bub. According to the most recent English writer on the slave 
trade, they "considered that the best way in which to remedy 
abuse of negro slaves was to set the plantation owners a good 
example by keeping slaves and estates themselves, accomplish- 
ing in this practical manner the salvation of the planters and the 
advancement of their foundations." 73 The Moravian mission- 
aries in the islands held slaves without hesitation; the Baptists, 
one historian writes with charming delicacy, would not allow 
their earlier missionaries to deprecate ownership of slaves. 74 To 
the very end the Bishop of Exeter retained his 655 slaves, for 
whom he received over 12,700 compensation in 183 3. 

Church historians make awkward apologies, that conscience 
awoke very slowly to the appreciation of the wrongs inflicted 
by slavery and that the defence of slavery by churchmen "sim- 
ply arose from want of delicacy of moral perception." 76 There 
is no need to make such apologies. The attitude of the church- 
man was the attitude of the layman. The eighteenth century, 
like any other century, could not rise above its economic 
limitations. As Whitefield argued in advocating the repeal of 
that article of the Georgia charter which forbade slavery, "it 
is plain to demonstration that hot countries cannot be cultivated 
without negroes. " 77 

Quaker nonconformity did not extend to the slave trade. In 
1756 there were eighty-four Quakers listed as members of the 
Company trading to Africa, among them the Barclay and Baring 
families. 78 Slave dealing was one of the most lucrative invest- 
ments of English as of American Quakers, and the name of a 
slaver, The Willing Quaker, reported from Boston at Sierra 
Leone in 1793, symbolizes the approval with which the slave 
trade was regarded in Quaker circles. The Quaker opposition 
to the slave trade came first and largely not from England but 
from America, and there from the small rural communities of 
the North, independent of slave labor. "It is difficult," writes 


Dr. Gary, "to avoid the assumption that opposition to the 
slave system was at first confined to a group who gained no 
direct advantage from it, and consequently possessed an objec- 
tive attitude." 80 

The Navy was impressed with the value of the West Indian 
colonies and refused to hazard or jeopardize their security. The 
West Indian station was the "station for honour," and many an 
admiral had been feted by the slave owners. Rodney opposed 
abolition. 81 Earl St. Vincent pleaded that life on the plantations 
was for the Negro a veritable paradise as compared with his 
existence in Africa. 82 Abolition was a "damned and cursed doc- 
trine, held only by hypocrites." 83 The gallant admiral's senti- 
ments were not entirely divorced from more material con- 
siderations. He received over 6,000 compensation in 1837 for 
the ownership of 418 slaves in Jamaica. 84 Nelson's wife was a 
West Indian, and his views on the slave trade were unequivocal. 
"I was bred in the good old school, and taught to appreciate 
the value of our West Indian possessions, and neither in the field 
nor the Senate shall their just rights be infringed, while I have an 
arm to fight in their defence, or a tongue to launch my voice 
against the damnable doctrine of Wilberforce and his hypo- 
critical allies." 85 

Slavery existed under the very eyes of eighteenth century 
Englishmen. An English coin, the guinea, rare though it was and 
is, had its origin in the trade to Africa. 80 A Westminster gold- 
smith made silver padlocks for blacks and dogs. 87 Busts of 
blackamoors and elephants, emblematical of the slave trade, 
adorned the Liverpool Town Hall. The insignia and equip- 
ment of the slave traders were boldly exhibited for sale in the 
shops and advertised in the press. Slaves were sold openly at 
auction. 88 Slaves being valuable property, with title recognized 
by law, the postmaster was the agent employed on occasions 
to recapture runaway slaves and advertisements were pub- 
lished in the official organ of the government. 80 Negro servants 
were common. Little black boys were the appendages of slave 
captains, fashionable ladies or women of easy virtue. Hogarth's 
heroine, in The Harlot's Progress, is attended by a Negro boy, 
and Marguerite Steen's Orabella Burmester typifies eighteenth 


century English opinion in her desire for a little black boy 
whom she could love as her long-haired kitten. 90 Freed Negroes 
were conspicuous among London beggars and were known as 
St. Giles blackbirds. So numerous were they that a parliamen- 
tary committee was set up in 1786 for relieving the black 
poor. 91 

"Slaves cannot breathe in England/' wrote the poet Cowper. 
This was license of the poet. It was held in 1677 t ^at "Negroes 
being usually bought and sold among merchants, so merchan- 
dise, and also being infidels, there might be a property in them." 
In 1729 the Attorney General ruled that baptism did not be- 
stow freedom or make any alteration in the temporal condition 
of the slave; in addition the slave did not become free by being 
brought to England, and once in England the owner could 
legally compel his return to the plantations. 92 So eminent an 
authority as Sir William Blackstone held that "with respect to 
any right the master may have lawfully acquired to the per- 
petual service of John or Thomas, this will remain exactly in 
the same state of subjection for life," in England or elsewhere. 93 

When, therefore, the assiduous zeal of Granville Sharp 
brought before Chief Justice Mansfield in 1772 the case of the 
Negro James Somersett who was about to be returned by his 
owner to Jamaica, there were abundant precedents to prove 
the impurity of the English air. Mansfield tried hard to evade 
the issue by suggesting manumission of the slave, and contented 
himself with the modest statement that the case was not "al- 
lowed or approved by the law of England" and the Negro 
must be discharged. Much has been made of this case, by people 
constantly seeking for triumphs of humanitarianism. Professor 
Coupland contends that behind the legal judgment lay the 
moral judgment and that the Somersett case marked the be- 
ginning of the end of slavery throughout the British Empire. 94 
This is merely poetic sentimentality translated into modern 
history. Benjamin Franklin pointed scornfully to "the hypoc- 
crisy of this country, which encourages such a detestable com- 
merce, while it piqued itself on its virtue, love of liberty, and 
the equity of its courts in setting free a single negro." 95 Two 
years after the Somersett case the British government disallowed 


the Jamaican Acts restricting the slave trade. In 1783 a Quaker 
petition for abolition was solemnly rejected by Parliament. 

In 1783, moreover, the same Mansfield handed down a de- 
cision in the case of the ship *Long. Short of water, the captain 
had thrown 132 slaves overboard, and now the owners brought 
an action for insurance alleging that the loss of the slaves fell 
within the clause of the policy which insured against "perils 
of the sea." In Mansfield's view "the case of slaves was the 
same as if horses had been thrown overboard." Damages of 
thirty pounds were awarded for each slave, and the idea that the 
captain and crew should be prosecuted for mass homicide never 
entered into the head of any humanitarian. In 1785 another in- 
surance case, involving a British ship and mutiny among the 
slaves, came before Mansfield. His Daniel judgment was that 
all the slaves who were killed in the mutiny or had died of their 
wounds and bruises were to be paid for by the underwriters; 
those who had died from jumping overboard or from swallow- 
ing water or from "chagrin" were not to be paid for on the 
ground that they had not died from injuries received in the 
mutiny; and the underwriters were not responsible for any 
depreciation in price which resulted to the survivors from the 
mutiny. 06 

The prosecution of the slave trade was not the work of the 
dregs of English society. The daughter of a slave trader has as- 
sured us that her father, though a slave captain and privateer, 
was a kind and just man, a good father, husband, and friend. 97 
This was probably true. The men most active in this traffic 
were worthy men, fathers of families and excellent citizens. 
The abolitionist Ramsay acknowledged this with real sorrow, 
but pleaded that "they had never examined the nature of this 
commerce and went into it, and acted as others had done before 
them in it, as a thing of course, for which no account was to be 
given in this world or the next." 98 The apology is unnecessary. 
The slave trade was a branch of trade and a very important 
branch. An officer in the trade once said that "one real view, 
one minute absolutely spent in the slave rooms on the middle 
passage would do more for the cause of humanity than the pen 
of a Robertson, or the whole collective eloquence of the British 


senate." 99 This is dubious. As it was argued later about the 
Cuban and Brazilian slave trade, it was no use saying it was an 
unholy or unchristian occupation. It was a lucrative trade, and 
that was enough. 100 The slave trade has even been justified as a 
great education. "Think of the effect, the result of a slave 
voyage on a youngster starting in his teens. . . . What an edu- 
cation was such a voyage for the farmer lad. What an enlarge- 
ment of experience for a country boy. If he returned to the 
farm his whole outlook on life would be changed. He went 
out a boy; he returned a man." 101 

The slave traders were among the leading humanitarians of 
their age. John Gary, advocate of the slave trade, was conspicu- 
ous for his integrity and humanity and was the founder of a 
society known as the "Incorporation of the Poor." 102 The 
Bristol slaver "Southwell" was named after a Bristol parliamen- 
tarian, whose monument depicts him as true to king and country 
and steady to what he thought right. 103 Bryan Blundell of 
Liverpool, one of Liverpool's most prosperous merchants, en- 
gaged in both the slave and West Indian trades, was for many 
years trustee, treasurer, chief patron and most active supporter 
of school, the Blue Coat Hospital, founded in xyo^ 104 
To this charity another Liverpool slave trader, Foster Cunliffe, 
contributed largely. He was a pioneer in the slave trade. He and 
his two sons are listed as members of the Liverpool Committee 
of Merchants trading to Africa in 1752. Together they had 
four ships capable of holding 1,120 slaves, the profits from 
which were sufficient to stock twelve vessels on the homeward 
journey with sugar and rum. An inscription to Foster Cunliffe 
in St. Peter's Church describes him thus: "a Christian devout 
and exemplary in the exercise of every private and publick 
duty, friend to mercy, patron to distress, an enemy only to vice 
and sloth, he lived esteemed by all who knew him . . . and died 
lamented by the wise and good. . . ." 105 Thomas Leyland, one 
of the largest slave traders of the same port, had, as mayor, no 
mercy for the engrosser, the forestaller, the regrater, and was a 
terror to evil doers. 106 The Heywoods were slave traders and 
the first to import the slave-grown cotton of the United States. 
Arthur Heywood was treasurer of the Manchester Academy 


where his sons were educated. One son, Benjamin, was elected 
member of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Man- 
chester, and was admitted to the Billiard Club, the most 
recherche club Manchester has ever possessed, which admitted 
only the very best men as regards manners, position and attain- 
ments. To be admitted to the charmed circle of the Forty 
meant unimpeachable recognition as a gentleman. Later Ben- 
jamin Hey wood organized the first of the Manchester exhi- 
bitions of works of art and industry. 107 

These slave traders held high office in England. The Royal 
Adventurers trading to Africa in 1667, a list headed by royalty, 
included two aldermen, three dukes, eight earls, seven lords, 
one countess, and twenty-seven knights. 108 The signatures of 
the mayors of Liverpool and Bristol appear on a petition of the 
slave traders in I739. 109 The Bristol Committee set up in 1789 
to oppose abolition of the slave trade included five aldermen, 
one an ex-captain of a slaver. 110 Many a slave trader held Liver- 
pool's highest municipal dignity. 111 The slave traders were 
firmly established in both houses of Parliament. Ellis Cunliffe 
represented Liverpool in Parliament from 1755 to I767- 112 The 
Tarleton family, prominent in the slave trade, voiced Liver- 
pool's opposition to abolition in Parliament. 113 The House of 
Lords, traditionally conservative, was confirmed in its instinctive 
opposition to abolition by the presence of many ennobled slave 
traders. It gave sympathetic hearing to the Earl of Westmor- 
land's statement that many of them owed their seats in the 
Upper House to the slave trade, 114 and that abolition was 
Jacobinism. 115 No wonder Wilberforce feared the Upper 
Chamber. 110 Not without confidence did the Assembly of 
Jamaica state categorically in 1792 that "the safety of the West 
Indies not only depends on the slave trade not being abolished, 
but on a speedy declaration of the House of Lords that they 
will not suffer the trade to be abolished." 117 

Some protests were voiced by a few eighteenth century 
intellectuals and prelates. Defoe in his "Reformation of Man- 
ners," condemned the slave trade. The poet Thomson, in his 
"Summer," drew a lurid picture of the shark following in the 


wake of the slave ship. Cowper, after some hesitation, wrote 
his memorable lines in "The Task." Blake wrote his beautiful 
poem on the "Little Black Boy." Southey composed some 
poignant verses on the "Sailor who had served in the Slave 
Trade." But much of this eighteenth century literature, as 
Professor Sypher has shown in an exhaustive analysis, 118 con- 
centrated on the "noble Negro," the prince unjustly made 
captive, superior even in bondage to his captors. This senti- 
mentality, typical of the eighteenth century in general, more 
often than not carried the vicious implication that the slavery 
of the ignoble Negro was justified. Boswell on the other hand 
stated emphatically that to abolish the slave trade was to shut 
the gates of mercy on mankind, and dubbed Wilberforce a 
"dwarf with big resounding name." 119 

Two eighteenth century merchants, Bentley and Roscoe, op- 
posed the slave trade before 1783; they were more than mer- 
chants, they were Liverpool merchants. Two eighteenth cen- 
tury economists condemned the expensiveness and inefficiency 
of slave labor Dean Tucker and Adam Smith, the warning 
tocsin, the trumpeter of the new age. The discordant notes went 
unheeded. The eighteenth century endorsed the plea of Temple 
Luttrell: "Some gentlemen may, indeed, object to the slave 
trade as inhuman and impious; let us consider that if our 
colonies are to be maintained and cultivated, which can only 
be done by African negroes, it is surely better to supply our- 
selves with those labourers in British bottoms, than purchase 
them through the medium of French, Dutch, or Danish 
factors." 120 

On one occasion a Mauritius gentleman, eager to convince 
the abolitionist Bnxton that "the blacks were the happiest 
people in the w r orld," appealed to his wife to confirm his state- 
ment from her own impressions of the slaves she had seen. 
"Well, yes," replied the good spouse, "they were very happy, 
I'm sure, only I used to think it so odd to see the black cooks 
chained to the fireplace." 121 Only a few Englishmen before 
1783, like the good spouse, had any doubts about the morality 
of the slave trade. Those who had realized that objections, as 
Postlethwayt put it, would be of little weight with statesmen 


who saw the great national emoluments which accrued from 
the slave trade. "We shall take things as they are, and reason 
from them in their present state, and not from that wherein we 
could hope them to be. ... We cannot think of giving up the 
slave-trade, notwithstanding my good wishes that it could be 
done." Later, perhaps, some noble and benevolent Christian 
spirit might think of changing the system, "which, as things are 
now circumstanced, may not be so easily brought about." 122 
Before the American Revolution English public opinion in 
general accepted the view of the slave trader: "Tho' to traffic 
in human creatures, may at first sight appear barbarous, in- 
human, and unnatural; yet the traders herein have as much to 
plead in their own excuse, as can be said for some other 
branches of trade, namely, the advantage of it. ... In a word, 
from this trade proceed benefits, far outweighing all, either real 
or pretended mischiefs and inconveniencies." 123 





ACCORDING TO ADAM SMITH, the discovery of America and the 
Cape route to India are "the two greatest and most important 
events recorded in the history of mankind." The importance 
of the discovery of America lay not in the precious metals it 
provided but in the new and inexhaustible market it afforded 
for European commodities. One of its principal effects was to 
"raise the mercantile system to a degree of splendour and glory 
which it could never otherwise have attained to." 1 It gave rise 
to an enormous increase in world trade. The seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries were the centuries of trade, as the nine- 
teenth century was the century of production. For Britain that 
trade was primarily the triangular trade. In 1718 William Wood 
said that the slave trade was "the spring and parent whence 
the others flow." 2 A few years later Postlethwayt described 
the slave trade as "the first principle and foundation of all the 
rest, the mainspring of the machine which sets every wheel in 
motion." 3 

In this triangular trade England France and Colonial 
America equally supplied the exports and the ships; Africa 
the human merchandise; the plantations the colonial raw ma- 
terials. The slave ship sailed from the home country with a 
cargo of manufactured goods. These were exchanged at a profit 


on the coast of Africa for Negroes, who were traded on the 
plantations, at another profit, in exchange for a cargo of colonial 
produce to be taken back to the home country. As the volume 
of trade increased, the triangular trade was supplemented, but 
never supplanted, by a direct trade between home country and 
the West Indies, exchanging home manufactures directly for 
colonial produce. 

The triangular trade thereby gave a triple stimulus to British 
industry. The Negroes were purchased with British manufac- 
tures; transported to the plantations, they produced sugar, cot- 
ton, indigo, molasses and other tropical products, the process- 
ing of which created new industries in England; while the 
maintenance of the Negroes and their owners on the planta- 
tions provided another market for British industry, New Eng- 
land agriculture and the Newfoundland fisheries. By 1750 there 
was hardly a trading or a manufacturing town in England which 
was not in some way connected with the triangular or direct 
colonial trade. 4 The profits obtained provided one of the main 
streams of that accumulation of capital in England which finan- 
ced the Industrial Revolution. 

The West Indian islands became the hub of the British Em- 
pire, of immense importance to the grandeur and prosperity of 
England. It was the Negro slaves who made these sugar colonies 
the most precious colonies ever recorded in the whole annals 
of imperialism. To Postlethwayt they were "the fundamental 
prop and support" of the colonies, "valuable people" whose 
labor supplied Britain with all plantation produce. The Brit- 
ish Empire was "a magnificent superstructure of American 
commerce and naval power on an African foundation." 5 

Sir Josiah Child estimated that every Englishman in the West 
Indies, "with the ten blacks that work with him, accounting 
what they eat, use and wear, would make employment for four 
men in England." 6 By Davenant's computation one person in 
the islands, white or Negro, was as profitable as seven in Eng- 
land. 7 Another writer considered that every family in the West 
Indies gave employment to five seamen and many more arti- 
ficers, manufacturers and tradesmen, and that every white per- 
son in the islands brought in ten pounds annually clear profit 


to England, twenty times as much as a similar person in the 
home country. 8 William Wood reckoned that a profit of seven 
shillings per head per annum was sufficient to enrich a country; 
each white man in the colonies brought a profit of over seven 
pounds. 9 Sir Dalby Thomas went further every person em- 
ployed on the sugar plantations was 130 times more valuable 
to England than one at home. 10 Professor Pitman has estimated 
that in 1775 British West Indian plantations represented a 
valuation of fifty millions sterling, 11 and the sugar planters 
themselves put the figure at seventy millions in I788. 12 In 1798 
Pitt assessed the annual income from West Indian plantations 
at four million pounds as compared with one million from the 
rest of the world. 13 As Adam Smith wrote: "The profits of a 
sugar plantation in any of our West Indian colonies are gener- 
ally much greater than those of any other cultivation that is 
known either in Europe or America." 14 

According to Davenant, Britain's total trade at the end of the 
seventeenth century brought in a profit of 2,000,000. The 
plantation trade accounted for 600,000; re-export of plantation 
goods 120,000; European, African and Levant trade 600,000; 
East India trade 500,000; re-export of East India goods 
i8o,ooo. 15 

Sir Charles Whitworth, in 1776, made a complete compila- 
tion, from official records, of the import and export trade of 
Great Britain for the years 1697-1773. His book is invaluable 
for an appreciation of the relative importance of the Caribbean 
and mainland colonies in the British Empire of the eighteenth 
century. For the year 1697 the West Indian colonies supplied 
nine per cent of British imports, the mainland colonies eight 
per cent; four per cent of British exports went to the West 
Indies, slightly under four per cent to the mainland; the West 
Indies accounted for seven per cent of Britain's total trade, the 
mainland for six per cent. In 1773 the West Indies still main- 
tained their lead, though as an export market they had become 
inferior to the mainland colonies with their larger white popula- 
tion. In that year nearly one-quarter of British imports came 
from all Caribbean areas, one-eighth from the entire mainland; 
the Caribbean consumed somewhat over eight per cent of Brit- 


ish exports, the mainland sixteen per cent; fifteen per cent of 
Britain's total trade was with the West Indies, fourteen per cent 
with the mainland. Taking the totals for the years 1714-1773, 
and including in those totals trade with new acquisitions, foreign 
colonies temporarily occupied by British forces during the war, 
or foreign colonies in general, we get the following picture: 
One-fifth of British imports came from the Caribbean, one- 
ninth from the mainland; six per cent of British exports went 
to the Caribbean, nine per cent to the mainland; twelve per cent 
of Britain's total foreign commerce was accounted for by the 
Caribbean, ten per cent by the mainland. During these same 
years one-half per cent of British imports came from Africa, 
two per cent of British exports went to Africa, while African 
trade represented nearly one and a half per cent of total Brit- 
ish trade. Leaving out of account, therefore, the plantation 
colonies on the mainland, Virginia, Maryland, Carolina, 
Georgia, the triangular and West Indian trades represented 
nearly one-seventh of total British trade during the years 

The amazing value of these West Indian colonies can more 
graphically be presented by comparing individual West Indian 
islands with individual mainland colonies. In 1697 British im- 
ports from Barbados were five times the combined imports 
from the bread colonies; the exports to Barbados were slightly 
larger. Little Barbados, with its 166 square miles, was worth 
more to British capitalism than New England, New York and 
Pennsylvania combined. In 1773 British imports from Jamaica 
were more than five times the combined imports from the 
bread colonies; British exports to Jamaica were nearly one- 
third larger than those to New England and only slightly less 
than those to New York and Pennsylvania combined. For the 
years 1714-1773 British imports from Montserrat were three 
times the imports from Pennsylvania, imports from Nevis were 
almost double those from New York, imports from Antigua 
were over three times those from New England. Imports from 
Barbados were more than twice as large as those from the 
bread colonies, imports from Jamaica nearly six times as large. 
For the same years Jamaica as an export market was as valuable 


as New England; Barbados and Antigua combined meant as 
much to British exporters as New York; Montserrat and Nevis 
combined were a better market than Pennsylvania. British ex- 
ports to Africa during these years were only one-tenth less 
than those to New England, British imports from Africa one- 
quarter more than those from New York and more than double 
those from Pennsylvania. 16 

Mercantilists were enthusiastic. The triangular trade, and the 
associated trade with the sugar islands, because of the navigation 
they encouraged, were more valuable to England than her 
mines of tin or coal. 17 These were ideal colonies. But for them 
Britain would have no gold or silver, except what she received 
from illicit commerce with the Spanish colonies, and an unfav- 
orable balance of trade. 18 Their tropical products, unlike those 
of the northern part of the mainland, did not compete with 
those of the home country. They showed little sign of that in- 
dustrial development which was the constant fear where the 
mainland was concerned. Their large black population was an 
effective guarantee against aspirations to independence. 19 It all 
combined to spell one word, sugar. "The pleasure, glory and 
grandeur of England," wrote Sir Dalby Thomas, "has been 
advanced more by sugar than by any other commodity, wool 
not excepted." 20 

There was one qualification monopoly. The economic 
philosophy of the age had no room for the open door, and 
colonial trade was a rigid monopoly of the home country. The 
mercantilists were adamant on this point. "Colonies," wrote 
Davenant, "are a strength to their mother kingdom, while they 
are under good discipline, while they are strictly made to ob- 
serve the fundamental laws of their original country, and while 
they are kept dependent on it. But otherwise, they are worse 
than members lopped from the body politic, being indeed like 
offensive arms wrested from a nation to be turned against it as 
occasion shall serve." 21 The colonies, in return for their pros- 
perity, owed the mother country, in Postlethwayt's view, grati- 
tude and an indispensable duty "to be immediately dependent 
on their original parent and to make their interest subservient 
thereunto." 22 


It was on these ideas that the mercantile system was erected. 
The colonies were obliged to send their valuable products to 
England only and use English ships. They could buy nothing 
but British unless the foreign commodities were first taken to 
England. And since, as dutiful children, they were to work for 
the greater glory of their parent, they were reduced to a state 
of permanent vassalage and confined solely to the exploitation 
of their agricultural resources. Not a nail, not a horseshoe, said 
Chatham, could be manufactured, nor hats, nor iron, nor re- 
fined sugar. In return for this, England made one concession 
the colonial products were given a monopoly of the home 

The keystone of this mercantilist arch was the Navigation 
Laws, "English measures designed for English ends." 23 The 
Navigation Laws were aimed at the Dutch, "the foster fathers," 
as Andrews calls them, of the early British colonies, 24 who sup- 
plied credit, delivered goods, purchased colonial produce and 
transported it to Europe, all at more attractive rates than the 
British could offer in open market. But the laws were aimed 
also at the Scotch and Irish 25 and Scotland's attempt to set up 
an independent African Company 26 aroused great fears in Eng- 
land and was largely responsible for the Act of Union in 1707. 
The sugar islands protested against this monopoly of their 
trade. Those who, in 1 840, were loudest in their opposition to 
free trade, were, in 1660, the most fervent advocates of free 
trade. In 1666 the governor of Barbados begged "leave to be 
plain with His Majesty, for he is come to where it pinches. . . . 
Free trade is the life of all colonies . . . whoever he be that 
advised His Majesty to restrain and tie up his colonies is more 
a merchant than a good subject." 27 His successor repeated the 
warning: "Ye must make their port a free port for all people to 
trade with them that will come. The ordinary way thats taken 
for new plantations I humbly conceive is a little erroneous. 
My Lords the Act for Trade and Navigation in England will 
certainly in tyme bee the ruine of all his Maties forreigne 
plantations." 28 The Lords of Trade decided to "give him a 
cheque for upholding this maxim of free trade," and censured 
him severely for "these dangerous principles which he enter- 


tains contrary to the settled laws of the kingdom and the ap- 
parent advantage of it." 29 

Such subversive ideas could not possibly be tolerated in an 
age which heard demands that the Navigation Laws be stretched 
to confine the provision for "English built" ships to ships built 
of English timber and using British made canvas, and which 
passed legislation that the dead be buried in English wool and 
all servants and slaves on the plantations be made to wear Eng- 
lish wool, to encourage England's foremost industry. Negroes, 
the most important export of Africa, and sugar, the most im- 
portant export of the West Indies, were the principal com- 
modities enumerated by the Navigation Laws. But the West 
Indian sugar planters never accepted this limitation on their 
trade. Ultimately in 1739 they were granted a modification of 
the Navigation Laws, but in so limited a form and only to such 
poor foreign markets in Europe south of Cape Finisterre 
that its advantages were nugatory. But even this concession, 
badly shorn though it was, aroused the wrath of English mer- 
chants. It would, said a Liverpool petition before the measure 
became a law, "be highly prejudicial in many instances to the 
interest and manufactures, to the trade and navigation of Great 
Britain in general and of this port in particular." 30 One hundred 
years later the same conflict was to be fought out, more bitterly, 
between monopoly and free trade, mercantilism and laissez 
faire. The antagonists were the same, British traders and in- 
dustrialists on the one hand and West Indian sugar planters on 
the other. But British capitalism, now all for monopoly, was 
then all for free trade; the West Indian planters, on the other 
hand, forgot all their noble free trade sentiments and clung 
tenaciously to the principle of monopoly which they had form- 
erly condemned, as making them "the merchants' slaves." 81 


This external trade naturally drew in its wake a tremendous 
development of shipping and shipbuilding. Not the least of the 
advantages of the triangular trade was its contribution to the 
wooden walls of England. There was less distinction between a 


merchant ship and a man-of-war in those days than there is 
today. The "long voyage" was an admirable nursery for the 
seamen, the merchantmen invaluable aides to the navy in time 
of war; and advocates of the slave trade argued that its abolition 
would annihilate the marine by cutting off a great source of 
seamen. 32 As one Liverpool slave trader wrote: "It is a matter 
of two much importance to this kingdom when ever it is 
abolished the naval importance of this kingdom is abolished with 
it, that moment our flagg will gradually cease to ride trium- 
phant on the seas." 33 

In 1678 the Commissioners of Customs reported that the 
plantation trade was one of the great nurseries of the shipping 
and seamen of England and one of the greatest branches of its 
trade. 34 Here again the sugar colonies outdistanced the bread 
colonies. More English ships sailed to the sugar colonies than 
to all the mainland colonies combined. In 1690 the sugar 
colonies employed 114 ships, of 13,600 tons and 1,203 seamen; 
the mainland colonies in ships, of 14,320 tons and 1,271 sea- 
men. 35 Between 1710 and 1714, 122,000 tons of British shipping 
sailed to the West Indies, 112,000 tons to the mainland. 36 The 
West Indian trade in 1709 employed one-tenth of British ship- 
ping engaged in foreign trade. 37 Between 1709 and 1787 British 
shipping engaged in foreign trade quadrupled; 38 ships clearing 
for Africa multiplied twelve times and the tonnage eleven 
times. 89 

Shipbuilding in England received a direct stimulus from the 
triangular trade. Vessels of a particular type were constructed 
for the slave trade, combining capacity with speed in an effort 
to reduce mortality. Many shipwrights in Liverpool were them- 
selves slave traders. The outstanding firm was Baker and Daw- 
son, one of the largest exporters of slaves to the West Indies, 
and engaged, after 1783, in the supplying of slaves to the 
Spanish colonies. John Gorell was one of the Liverpool mem- 
bers of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa. So was 
John Okill, one of Liverpool's most successful shipbuilders, 
but apparently he eschewed the slave trade. In a port whose 
prosperity was intimately connected with the slave trade, Wil- 
liam Rathbone was a curiosity in his refusal to supply timber 


for the construction of vessels to be employed in the slave 
trade, 40 in which half of Liverpool's sailors were engaged. 41 

The shipping industry was divided, as industry in general, 
on the question of the organization of the slave trade. Some 
sections favored the Royal African Company, others the free 
traders. 42 But on the question of abolition the industry presented 
a united front, arguing that abolition would strike at the very 
roots of Britain's naval and imperial supremacy. The first re- 
action of Liverpool to the act of 1788 regulating the capacity 
of slavers was that it left 22 masters of slave ships, 47 mates and 
350 seamen unemployed, with their families and the tradesmen 
dependent more indirectly on the trade with Africa. 43 

In addition to the seamen, there were the ancillary trades. 
Carpenters, painters and boat-builders; tradesmen and artisans 
connected with repairs, equipment and lading; commissions, 
wages, dock duties, insurances all depended partly on the 
ships trading to Africa. To supply the ships, there were in 1774 
fifteen roperies in Liverpool. 44 There were few people in the 
town, it was claimed, who would not be affected, directly or 
indirectly, by abolition. 45 

The sugar islands made yet another contribution to the 
growth of shipping. The peculiar economy developed in the 
West Indies concentrated on export crops while food was im- 
ported. Most important of all the food supplies was fish, an 
article dear to the heart of every mercantilist, because it pro- 
vided employment for ships and training for seamen. Laws 
were passed in England to encourage the consumption of fish. 
Friday and Saturday were set apart as fish days. Fish was an im- 
portant item of the diet of the slaves on the plantations, and the 
English herring trade found its chief market in the sugar planta- 
tions. 46 The Newfoundland fishery depended to a considerable 
extent on the annual export of dried fish to the West Indies, the 
refuse or "poor John" fish, "fit for no other consumption." 47 
A West Indian tradition was thereby fostered. Imported salted 
cod is still today a normal and favorite dish in all but the 
well-to-do West Indian families; whether it is still "fit for no 
other consumption" is not known. 


The increase in shipping subjected the eighteenth century 
docks of England to intolerable strain. The number of ships 
entering the port of London trebled between 1705 and 1795, 
the tonnage quadrupled, exclusive of the smaller vessels engaged 
in the coasting trade. The warehouses on the quays were in- 
adequate for the imports. The colliers could not be discharged 
and the price of coals rose enormously. Sugar was piled six or 
eight hogsheads high on the quay, increasing the danger of fire 
and encouraging thefts. A great machine of organized crime 
was developed, involving some ten thousand people. The total 
annual depredations at the docks were estimated at half a 
million pounds, half this sum from vessels from the Caribbean. 

The West Indian merchants set themselves to grapple with 
the problem. They organized a special force of constables to 
cope with the thefts, and set up a general register of laborers 
discharging West Indian ships. They lobbied in Parliament and 
eventually secured an act authorizing the construction of the 
West India Docks. For twenty-one years they were given a 
monopoly of loading and unloading vessels engaged in the 
West Indian trade. The first stone was laid in 1800, and the 
ceremony was followed by an elegant entertainment for the 
notables present, at which one toast was appropriately drunk 
to the prosperity of the West Indian colonies. The docks were 
publicly opened in 1802, the first ship being named after the 
Prime Minister, and the second laden with six hundred tons of 
sugar. 48 


The development of the triangular trade and of shipping and 
shipbuilding led to the growth of the great seaport towns. 
Bristol, Liverpool and Glasgow occupied, as seaports and trad- 
ing centers, the position in the age of trade that Manchester, 
Birmingham and Sheffield occupied later in the age of industry. 

It was said in 1685 that there was scarcely a shopkeeper in 
Bristol who had not a venture on board some ship bound for 
Virginia or the Antilles. Even the parsons talked of nothing 
but trade, and it was satirically alleged that Bristol freights 


were owned not by merchants but by mechanics. 49 Customs 
duties rose from 10,000 in 1634 to 334,000 in 1785. Wharfage 
dues, payable on every vessel above sixty tons, doubled between 
1 745 and I775. 50 

It was the slave and sugar trades which made Bristol the 
second city of England for the first three-quarters of the eight- 
eenth century. "There is not," wrote a local annalist, "a brick 
in the city but what is cemented with the blood of a slave. 
Sumptuous mansions, luxurious living, liveried menials, were 
the produce of the wealth made from the sufferings and groans 
of the slaves bought and sold by the Bristol merchants. ... In 
their childlike simplicity they could not feel the iniquity of the 
merchandise, but they could feel it lucrative." 51 An analysis of 
a committee set up in 1789 to oppose the movement for aboli- 
tion of the slave trade shows that among the members elected 
were nine merchants at some time mayors of Bristol, five who 
were sheriffs, seven had been or were to be Masters of the 
Society of Merchant Venturers. 52 

When Bristol was outstripped in the slave trade by Liver- 
pool, it turned its attention from the triangular trade to the 
direct sugar trade. Fewer Bristol ships sailed to Africa, more 
went direct to the Caribbean. In 1700 the port had forty-six 
ships in the West Indian trade. 53 In 1787 there were thirty 
Bristol vessels engaged in the slave trade, seventy-two in the 
West Indian trade; the former averaged 140 tons each, the 
latter 240. 54 In 1788 Bristol had as many ships in the trade to the 
Leeward Islands, and almost as many in the trade to Jamaica, as 
in the trade to Africa. 55 Nearly one-third of the tonnage which 
entered, more than one-third of that which sailed from, the port 
was engaged in the trade with the sugar colonies; 56 and it was 
the amiable custom in Bristol to celebrate the arrival of the first 
sugar ship each year by a gift of wine at the expense of the 
fortunate owner. 57 The West Indian trade was worth to Bris- 
tol twice as much as all her other overseas commerce combined. 
As late as 1830 five-eighths of its trade was with the West Indies, 
and it was said in 1833 t ^at without the West Indian trade Bris- 
tol would be a fishing port. 68 

Bristol had a West Indian Society of its own. The Town 


Council distributed municipal funds for the relief of distress 
caused by fire in the sugar islands. It was customary for 
younger sons and junior members of West Indian firms to 
spend some years on the plantations before entering business at 
home. Bristol members of Parliament in the eighteenth century 
were frequently associated, in one way or another, with the 
sugar plantations, and so important did the islands become to 
Bristol that for the first half of the nineteenth century Bristol 
was always represented in Parliament by a West Indian a 
Baillie, a Protheroe, or a Miles. James Evan Baillie exhorted his 
fellow citizens not to lay the axe at the root of their own pros- 
perity by supporting the abolition of slavery in the islands. 59 
His own prosperity was also at stake. The compensation paid 
to the family for their ownership of numerous slaves in Trinidad 
and British Guiana exceeded 62,ooo. 60 Bristol presented a de- 
termined opposition to the equalization of the sugar duties 
which gave the coup de grace to the West Indian monopoly. 
Thereafter Bristol's trade with the West Indies declined rapidly. 
In 1847 forty per cent of the port's tonnage was bound for the 
West Indies, and ships returning from the islands represented 
a mere eleven per cent. In 1871 no ship left Bristol for Jamaica, 
and the inward tonnage from the islands constituted less than 
two per cent of the arrivals. Bristol's trade with the islands did 
not revive until the end of the nineteenth century with the ad- 
vent of the banana in the world market. 61 

What the West Indian trade did for Bristol the slave trade 
did for Liverpool. In 1565 Liverpool had 138 householders, 
seven streets only were inhabited, the port's merchant marine 
amounted to twelve ships of 223 tons. Until the end of the 
seventeenth century the only local event of importance was 
the siege of the town during the English Civil War. 62 In col- 
lecting ship money Strafford assessed Liverpool at fifteen 
pounds; Bristol paid two thousand. 63 The shipping entering 
Liverpool increased four and a half times between 1709 and 
1771; the outward tonnage six and a half times. The number 
of ships owned by the port multiplied four times during the 
same period, the tonnage and sailors over six times. 64 Customs 


receipts soared from an average of 51,000 for the years 1750 
to 1757 to 648,000 in 1 785.^ Dock duties increased two and a 
half times between 1752 and 177 1. 66 The population rose from 
5,000 in 1700 to 34,000 in 1773. By 1770 Liverpool had become 
too famous a town in the trading world for Arthur Young to 
pass it by on his travels over England. 67 

The abolitionist Clarkson argued that the rise of Liverpool 
was due to a variety of causes, among which were the salt trade, 
the prodigious increase of the population of Lancashire, and the 
rapid and great extension of the manufactures of Manchester. 68 
This is a particularly flagrant case of putting the cart before the 
horse. It was only the capital accumulation of Liverpool which 
called the population of Lancashire into existence and stimu- 
lated the manufactures of Manchester. That capital accumula- 
tion came from the slave trade, whose importance was appre- 
ciated more by contemporaries than by later historians. 

It was a common saying that several of the principal streets 
of Liverpool had been marked out by the chains, and the walls 
of the houses cemented by the blood, of the African slaves, 69 
and one street was nicknamed "Negro Row." 70 The red brick 
Customs House was blazoned with Negro heads. 71 The story 
is told of an actor in the town, who, hissed by the audience for 
appearing before them, not for the first time, in a drunken con- 
dition, steadied himself and declared with offended majesty: 
"I have not come here to be insulted by a set of wretches, every 
brick in whose infernal town is cemented with an African's 
blood." 72 

It was estimated in J79O that the 138 ships which sailed from 
Liverpool for Africa represented a capital of over a million 
pounds. Liverpool's own probable loss from the abolition of the 
slave trade was then computed at over seven and a half million 
pounds. 73 Abolition, it was said, would ruin the town. It would 
destroy the foundation of its commerce and the first cause of 
the national industry and wealth. "What vain pretence of 
liberty," it was asked in Liverpool, "can infatuate people to run 
into so much licentiousness as to assert a trade is unlawful which 
custom immemorial, and various Acts of Parliament, have rati- 
fied and given a sanction to?" 74 


This dependence on the slave trade has proved very awkward 
to sensitive and patriotic historians. A generation, argued a 
Bristol historian in 1939, which has seen the spoilation of 
Ethiopia, the brutal dismemberment of China and the rape of 
Czechoslovakia, cannot afford to condemn the slave trade. 75 In 
the opinion of a Liverpool town clerk, Liverpool has borne 
more than its share of the stigma attaching to the slave trade. 
The indomitable perseverance and energy of its people would 
have ensured an equal prosperity in other directions, as effec- 
tively if not as quickly, had the slave trade not existed, and the 
ultimate success of the port would perhaps have been re- 
tarded, though not prejudiced or impaired, without the slave 
trade. 76 According to yet another Liverpool writer, there was 
nothing derogatory in the fact that their ancestors had dealt in 
"niggers," and the horrors of the slave trade were exceeded by 
the horrors of the Liverpool drink traffic. But, after all, "it was 
the capital made in the African slave trade that built some of 
our docks. It was the price of human flesh and blood that gave 
us a start." Some of those who made their fortunes out of the 
slave trade had soft hearts under their waistcoats for the poor of 
Liverpool, while the profits from slave trading represented "an 
influx of wealth which, perhaps, no consideration would induce 
a commercial community to relinquish." 77 

Not until the Act of Union of 1 707 was Scotland allowed to 
participate in colonial trade. That permission put Glasgow on 
the map. Sugar and tobacco underlay the prosperity of the 
town in the eighteenth century. Colonial commerce stimulated 
the growth of new industries. As Bishop Pococke wrote in 1760, 
after a visif to Glasgow: "the city has above all others felt the 
advantages of the Union, by the West India trade which they 
enjoy, which is very great, especially in tobacco, indigoes and 
sugar." 78 Sugar refining continued as an important industry in 
the Clyde Valley until the eclipse of the West Indian islands in 
the middle of the nineteenth century. 



It is necessary now to trace the industrial development in 
England which was stimulated directly or indirectly by the 
goods for the triangular trade and the processing of colonial 

The widespread ramifications of the slave trade in English in- 
dustry are illustrated by this cargo to Africa for the year 1787: 
cotton and linen goods, silk handkerchiefs, coarse blue and red 
woolen cloths, scarlet cloth in grain, coarse and fine hats, 
worsted caps, guns, powder, shot, sabers, lead bars, iron bars, 
pewter basons, copper kettles and pans, iron pots, hardware of 
various kinds, earthen and glass ware, hair and gilt leather 
trunks, beads of various kinds, silver and gold rings and orna- 
ments, paper, coarse and fine checks, linen ruffled shirts and 
caps, British and foreign spirits and tobacco. 79 

This sundry assortment was typical of the slave trader's 
cargo. Finery for Africans, household utensils, cloths of all 
kinds, iron and other metals, together with guns, handcuffs 
and fetters: the production of these stimulated capitalism, pro- 
vided employment for British labor, and brought great profits 
to England. 

i. Wool 

Until the tremendous development of the cotton industry in 
the Industrial Revolution, wool was the spoiled child of Eng- 
lish manufactures. It figured largely in all considerations af- 
fecting the slave trade in the century after 1680. The cargo of 
a slave ship was incomplete without some woolen manufactures 
serges, says, perpetuanos, arrangoes and bays. Sometimes the 
cloth was called after the locality where it was first manufac- 
tured. Bridwaters represented Bridgewater's interest in the 
colonial market; Welsh Plaines, a woolen cloth of the simplest 
weave, was manufactured in western England and Wales. 

A parliamentary committee of 1695 voiced the public senti- 
ment that the trade to Africa was an encouragement to the 
woolen manufacture. 80 Among the arguments put forward to 
prove the importance of the slave trade, the exports of wool 


which that trade encouraged were always given first place. A 
pamphlet of 1680, illustrating the public utility and advantages 
of the African trade, begins with "the exportation of our native 
woollen and other manufactures in great abundance, most of 
which were imported formerly out of Holland . . . whereby the 
wooll of this nation is much more consumed and spent then 
formerly; and many thousand of the poor people imployed." 81 
Similarly, the Royal African Company stated in a petition in 
1696 that the slave trade should be supported by England, be- 
cause of the exports it encouraged of woolen and other English 
manufactures. 82 

The woolen manufacturers of the kingdom took a prominent 
part in the long and bitter controversy waged between the 
Royal African Company and the separate traders. Those from 
whom the company made its purchases argued that the inter- 
lopers caused disturbances and dislocation of the trade, and that 
the trade declined when the company's monopoly was modi- 
fied. In 1694 the clothiers of Witney petitioned Parliament in 
favor of the company's monopoly. The cloth workers of 
Shrewsbury followed suit in 1696, and the weavers of Kidder- 
minster twice in the same year. In 1709 the weavers of Exeter 
and the woolen tradesmen of London, and in 1713 several 
tradesmen interested in the woolen manufacture, also took the 
company's side. 83 

But the weight of the woolen interests was on the whole 
thrown on the side of the free traders. The company's monop- 
oly enabled it to "screw up the tradesmen to a limited quantity 
and price, length, breadth and weight." 84 Monopoly meant one 
buyer and one seller only. A searcher in the custom house 
testified that when the trade was open there was a greater ex- 
portation of wool. According to the testimony of two London 
merchants in 1693, t ' ie monopoly had reduced the exports of 
wool by nearly one-third. Suffolk exported 25,000 woolen 
cloths a year; two years after the incorporation of the com- 
pany, the number declined to 500. 85 In 1690 the clothiers of Suf- 
folk and Essex and the manufacturers of Exeter petitioned 
against the company's monopoly. Exeter petitioned again in 
1694, 1696, 1709, 1710 and 1711 in favor of free trade. The 


woolen merchants of the kingdom complained in 1694 that re- 
strictions had greatly lessened their sales. Similar petitions 
were presented against the monopoly by the woolen traders of 
London and the woolen merchants of Plymouth in 1710, the 
woolen dealers of Totnes and Ashburton, the woolen manufac- 
turers of Kidderminster, the Merchant Adventurers of Mine- 
head engaged in the woolen manufacture in 17 ii. 86 

Other petitions to Parliament emphasized the importance of 
the colonial market for the woolen industry. In 1690 the 
planters of Jamaica protested against the company's monopoly 
as a discouragement to trade, especially the woolen trade. A 
petition from Manchester in 1704 revealed that English wool 
was traded to Holland, Hamburg and the East for linen yarn 
and flax, which, when manufactured, were sent to the planta- 
tions. The merchants and traders of Liverpool in 1709, the mer- 
chants and inhabitants of Liverpool in 1715, contended that the 
company's monopoly was detrimental to the woolen industry. 
Petitions from the industrial North in 1735 disclosed that Wake- 
field, Halifax, Burnley, Colne and Kendal were all interested 
in the manufacture of woolen goods for Africa and the West 
Indies. 87 

That woolen goods should figure so prominently in tropical 
markets is to be attributed to the deliberate policy of mercan- 
tilist England. It was argued in 1732, on behalf of the mainland 
colonies, that Pennsylvania alone consumed more woolen ex- 
ports from England than all the sugar islands combined, and 
New York more than any sugar island except Jamaica. 88 
Woolen goods were more suited for these colder climates, and 
the Barbadian planters preferred light calicoes which could be 
easily washed. 89 But wool was England's staple, and climatic 
considerations were too great a refinement for the mercantilist 
mind. Any one familiar with British West Indian society 
today will appreciate the strength of the tradition thereby 
fostered. Woolen undergarments are still common in the islands 
today, though more among the older generation, and suits of 
blue serge are still a sign of the well-dressed man. Like the 
Englishman and unlike the North American in the colonies, the 
Caribbean colored middle class today still apes the fashions of 


the home country in its preference for the heavier materials 
which are so ridiculous and uncomfortable in a tropical en- 

But cotton later superseded wool in colonial markets as it 
did in domestic. Of a total export of four million pounds of 
woolen manufactures in 1772, less than three per cent went to 
the West Indies and less than four per cent to Africa. 90 The 
best customers were Europe and America. In 1783 the woolen 
industry was slowly beginning its belated imitation of the tech- 
nological changes which had revolutionized the cotton industry. 
In its progress after 1783 the triangular trade and West Indian 
market played no appreciable part. 

2. Cotton Manufacture 

What the building of ships for the transport of slaves did for 
eighteenth century Liverpool, the manufacture of cotton goods 
for the purchase of slaves did for eighteenth century Man- 
chester. The first stimulus to the growth of Cottonopolis came 
from the African and West Indian markets. 

The growth of Manchester was intimately associated with 
the growth of Liverpool, its outlet to the sea and the world 
market. The capital accumulated by Liverpool from the slave 
trade poured into the hinterland to fertilize the energies of 
Manchester; Manchester goods for Africa were taken to the 
coast in the Liverpool slave vessels. Lancashire's foreign market 
meant chiefly the West Indian plantations and Africa. The ex- 
port trade was 14,000 in 1739; in 1759 it had increased nearly 
eight times; in 1779 it was 303,000. Up to 1770 one-third of this 
export went to the slave coast, one-half to the American and 
West Indian colonies. 91 It was this tremendous dependence on 
the triangular trade that made Manchester. 

Light woolen goods were popular on the slave coast: so 
were silks, provided they were gaudy and had large flowers. 
But the most popular of all materials was cotton goods, as the 
African was already accustomed to coarse blue .and white cot- 
ton cloths of his own manufacture, and from the beginning the 
striped loincloths called "annabasses" were a regular feature of 
every slave trader's cargo. Indian textiles, banned in England, 


soon established a monopoly of the African market. Brawls, 
tapsells, niccanees, cuttanees, buckshaws, nillias, salempores 
these Indian cloths were highly prized, and yet another power- 
ful vested interest was drawn into the orbit of the slave trade, 
Manchester tried to compete with the East India Company; 
bafts, for example, were cheap cotton fabrics from the East 
later copied in England for the African market. But the back- 
wardness of the English dyeing process made it impossible for 
Manchester to get the fast red, green and yellow colors popular 
on the coast. Manchester proved unable to imitate the colors of 
these Indian cottons, and there is evidence to show that the 
French cotton manufacturers of Normandy were equally un- 
successful in learning the secrets of the East. 

Manchester was more fortunate in its trade in cotton and 
linen checks, though figures for the first half of the eighteenth 
century are unreliable. The European and colonial wars of 
1739-1748 and the reorganization which the African Company 
was undergoing up to 1750 caused a slump in the cotton trade 
to Africa, and when it revived after 1750 Indian exports were 
inadequate to satisfy the demand. English manufacturers made 
full use of this opportunity to push their own goods. In 1752 
the export of cotton-linen checks alone from England was 
57,000; in 1763, at the end of the Seven Years' War, it stood at 
the exceptionally high figure of 302,000, but after 1767 re- 
mained between 100,000 and 200,000, when Indian competi- 
tion again proved formidable. 

Available statistics make comparison between the value of 
English cotton checks and Indian cotton pieces exported to 
Africa impossible, as the former are given by value and the 
latter by quantity. But the growth of Indian and English cotton 
exports to Africa will give some indication of the importance 
of the African market. Total cotton exports stood at 214,600 
in 1751; in 1763 they were more than double; in 1772 they were 
more than four times as great, but as a result of the American 
Revolution they declined to 195,900 in 1780. The effect of the 
war on the slave and plantation markets is at once apparent. By 
1780 checks had ceased to be an important part of the cotton 
industry. But it was not the war alone that was to be blamed. 


Manchester could satisfy the African market only when Indian 
cottons were scarce or dear. For the plantation market cheap- 
ness was essential, and by 1780 raw cotton was becoming, in- 
creasingly expensive as the supply lagged behind the demand 
of the new inventions. 92 

But according to estimates given to the Privy Council in 
1788, Manchester exported annually to Africa goods worth 
200,000, 180,000 of this for Negroes only; the manufacture 
of these goods represented an investment of 300,000 and gave 
employment to 180,000 men, women and children. 93 The 
French manufacturers, impressed with the quality and cheap- 
ness of those special goods called Guinea cloths produced in 
Manchester, were sending agents over to get particulars, and 
extending open offers to Manchester manufacturers, should 
Britain abolish the slave trade, to set up in Rouen where they 
would be given every encouragement. 94 In addition, Manches- 
ter in 1788 furnished for the West Indian trade more than 
300,000 annually in manufactures, which gave employment to 
many thousands. 95 

Between the cotton manufacturers of Manchester and the 
slave traders there were not the close connections that have al- 
ready been noticed in the case of the shipbuilders of Liverpool. 
But two exceptional instances of such connections exist. Two 
well-known cotton manufacturers of Lancashire, Sir William 
Fazackerly and Samuel Touchet, were both members of the 
Company of Merchants trading to Africa. Fazackerly, a Lon- 
don dealer in fustians, presented the case of the separate traders 
of Bristol and Liverpool against the African Company in 
I726. 96 Touchet, member of a great Manchester check-making 
house, represented Liverpool on the governing body of the 
company during the period 1753-1756. He was concerned in 
the equipping of the expedition which captured Senegal in 1758 
and tried hard to get the contract for victualling the troops. 
A patron of Paul's unsuccessful spinning machine intended to 
revolutionize the cotton industry, accused openly of attempt- 
ing to monopolize the import of raw cotton, Touchet added to 
his many interests a partnership, with his brothers, in about 
twenty ships in the West Indian trade. Touchet died, leaving a 


large fortune, and was described in his obituary notice as "the 
most considerable merchant and manufacturer in Manches- 
ter, remarkable for great abilities and strict integrity, and for 
universal benevolence and usefulness to mankind." Two modern 
writers have left us this description of the man: "Icarus-like 
soaring too high," he emerges as "the first considerable financier 
that the Manchester trade produced, and certainly as one of the 
earliest cases of a Manchester man who was concerned at once 
in manufacturing and in large scale financial and commercial 
ventures in the City and abroad." 97 

Other cases emphasize the significance of Touchet's career. 
Robert Diggles, African slave trader of Liverpool, was the son 
of a Manchester linen draper and brother of another. In 1747 
a Manchester man was in partnership with two Liverpool men 
in a voyage to Jamaica. A leading Manchester firm, the Hib- 
berts, owned sugar plantations in 'Jamaica, and at one time 
supplied checks and imitations of Indian goods to the African 
Company for the slave trade. 98 

Manchester received a double stimulus from the colonial 
trade. If it supplied the goods needed on the slave coast and on 
the plantations, its manufacturers depended in turn on the 
supply of the raw material. Manchester's interest in the islands 
was twofold. 

The raw material came to England in the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries chiefly from two sources, the Levant and 
the West Indies. In the eighteenth century that Indian competi- 
tion which proved too formidable for Manchester on the slave 
coast and which was threatening to swamp even the home mar- 
ket with Indian goods was effectively smashed, as far as Eng- 
land was concerned, by the prohibitive duties on Indian im- 
ports into England. The first step was thereby taken by which 
the motherland of cotton became in the nineteenth and twen- 
tieth centuries the chief market of Lancashire. In the eight- 
eenth century the measure gave Manchester a monopoly of 
the home market, and private Indian traders began to import 
the raw cotton for the Lancashire factories. A competitor to the 
West Indian islands had arisen, to be followed later by Brazil, 


whose product by 1783 was recognized as clearly superior to all 
the other varieties. 

But in the early eighteenth century England depended on the 
West Indian islands for between two-thirds and three-quarters 
of its raw cotton. Cotton, nevertheless, was essentially a second- 
ary consideration in the West Indian planter's outlook, and 
however much the planters as a body looked with jealousy on 
its cultivation in India or Africa or Brazil, it remained a second- 
ary consideration. In opposing the retention of Guadeloupe in 
1763, the West India interest measured their arguments in 
terms of sugar, while, significantly, a contemporary pam- 
phleteer pointed to its cotton exports to England as a reason 
for keeping the island." But British consumption was small and 
the West Indian contribution welcome. In 1764 British im- 
ports of raw cotton amounted to nearly four million pounds; 
the West Indies supplied one-half. In 1780 Britain imported 
more than six and a half million pounds; the West Indies sup- 
plied two-thirds. 100 

In 1783, the West Indies, therefore, still dominated the cotton 
trade. But a new day was dawning. In the phenomenal expan- 
sion of an industry which was to clothe the world, a few tiny 
islands in the Caribbean could hardly hope to supply the neces- 
sary raw material. Their cotton was the long-staple, sea-island 
variety, easily cleaned by hand, limited to certain areas, and 
therefore expensive. When the cotton gin permitted the culti- 
vation of the short-staple cotton by facilitating the task of 
cleaning, the center of gravity shifted from the islands to the 
mainland to meet the enormous demands of the new machinery 
in England. In 1784 a shipment of American cotton was seized 
by the Liverpool customs authorities on the ground that cotton, 
not being a bona fide product of the United States, could not 
legally be transported to England in an American vessel. 

It was an evil omen for the West Indians, coinciding, as it 
did, with another significant development. During the Ameri- 
can Revolution Manchester's cotton exports to Europe almost 
trebled. 101 The Revolution itself created another important 
market for Manchester, the independent United States, at a 
time when the cotton gin was just around the corner. For both 


its import and export markets, therefore, cotton was beginning 
to reach out to the world market. The sunny Caribbean sky 
was marred by a barely perceptible but portentous cloud, and 
the gentle West Indian breeze was rising ominously. It 
heralded the approaching political hurricane which, to alter 
Edmund Burke's description of those visitations of nature com- 
mon in the West Indies, humbled the sugar planter's pride if it 
did not correct his vices. 

3. Sugar Refining. 

The processing of colonial raw materials gave rise to new in- 
dustries in England, provided further employment for shipping, 
and contributed to a greater extension of the world market and 
international trade. Of these raw materials sugar was pre- 
eminent, and its manufacture gave birth to the sugar refining 
industry. The refining process transformed the crude brown 
sugar manufactured on the plantations into white sugar, which 
was durable and capable of preservation, and could be easily 
handled and distributed all over the world. 

The earliest reference to sugar refining in England is an 
order of the Privy Council in 1615 prohibiting aliens from 
erecting sugar houses or practising the art of refining sugar. 102 
The importance of the industry increased in proportion to its 
production on the plantations, and as sugar became, with the 
spread of tea and coffee, one of the necessities of life instead of 
the luxury of kings. 

About the middle of the eighteenth century there were 1 20 
refineries in England. Each refinery was estimated to provide 
employment for about nine men. In addition the distribution 
of the refined product called into existence a number of sub- 
sidiary trades and required ships and wagons for the coastal 
and inland trade. 103 

The sugar refining industry of Bristol was one of the most 
important of the kingdom. It was in Bristol in 1654 that the 
diarist, Evelyn, saw for the first time the method of manufac- 
turing loaf sugar, 104 and in the annals of Bristol's history sugar 
figures frequently as a gift to distinguished visitors to the town 
Richard, son of Oliver Cromwell, and King Charles II, in 


return for which the king knighted four of the town's mer- 
chants. 105 

In 1799, there were twenty refineries in Bristol, and the town 
did more refining than London in proportion to size and popu- 
lation. Bristol's sugar was considered superior in quality, its 
proximity to the coal supplies for fuel enabled it to sell cheaper 
than London, while it found in Ireland, the whole of South 
Wales and West England the markets for which it was destined 
by its geographical location. 106 Sugar refining long remained 
one of the staples of Bristol. The refiners of the city petitioned 
Parliament in 1789 against the abolition of the slave trade on 
which "the welfare and prosperity, if not the actual existence, 
of the West India Islands depend." 107 In 1811 there were six- 
teen refineries in the town, whose connection with this indus- 
try ceased only towards the end of the nineteenth century, 
when bananas replaced sugar. 108 

Some of Bristol's most prominent citizens were connected 
with the sugar refining business. Robert Aldworth, seventeenth 
century alderman, was closely identified with refining, while he 
was at the same time a merchant who built two docks to ac- 
commodate the increased shipping. 109 William Miles was the 
outstanding refiner of the eighteenth century. His career is typ- 
ical of many other cases. Miles came to Bristol with three half- 
pence in his pocket, worked as a porter, apprenticed himself 
to a shipbuilder, saved fifteen pounds, and sailed to Jamaica as a 
ship's carpenter in a merchantman. He bought a cask or two 
of sugar which he sold in Bristol, at a huge profit, and with the 
proceeds bought articles in great demand in Jamaica and re- 
peated his former investment. Miles soon became very wealthy 
and settled in Bristol as a refiner. This was the humble origin of 
one of the greatest fortunes made in the West Indian trade. 
Taking his son into partnership, Miles was wealthy enough to 
give him a check for 100,000 to enable him to marry the 
daughter of an aristocratic clergyman. The elder Miles became 
an alderman, and died rich and honored; the younger con- 
tinued as a West Indian merchant dealing chiefly in sugar and 
slaves, and at his death in 1848 left property valued at more 
than a million. 110 In 1833 he was in possession of 663 slaves in 


Trinidad and Jamaica, for which he received Compensation to 
the amount of i7,85o. m 

The frequent association of Glasgow with the tobacco in- 
dustry is only a part of the truth. The prosperity of the town 
in the eighteenth century was due at least as much to its sugar 
refining business. Sugar refining dated back to the second half 
of the seventeenth century. The Wester sugar-house was built 
in 1667, followed by the Easter in 1669, and shortly after the 
South sugar-house and another. Yet another followed in 1701. 
But Glasgow labored under the disadvantage that before 1707 
direct trade relations with the colonies were illegal, and Glas- 
gow's sugar refiners were forced to depend on Bristol for their 
raw material. By the Act of Union and a happy accident this 
unsatisfactory situation was brought to an end. Two Scotch 
officers, Colonel William Macdowall, cadet of an ancient 
family, and Major James Milliken, while quartered in St. 
Kitts, wooed and won two heiresses, the widow Tovie and her 
daughter, owners of great sugar plantations. The missing link 
had been found. The arrival of the heiresses and their husbands 
meant that Glasgow became one of the leading ports of entry 
for the cargoes of West Indian sugar. In the very year of the 
happy event a new refinery was set up. 112 

The majority of the refineries were located in and around 
the capital eighty compared with Bristol's twenty. In 1774 
there were eight refineries in Liverpool, one of them, the house 
of Branckers, a firm also engaged in the slave trade, being one 
of the most extensive in the whole kingdom. 113 There were 
others in Manchester, Chester, Lancashire, Whitehaven, New- 
castle, Hull, Southampton and Warrington. 

It may well be asked why the refining of the raw sugar was 
not done at the source, on the plantations. The division of 
labor, between the agricultural operations in the tropical 
climate, and the industrial operations in the temperate climate, 
has survived to this day. The original reason had nothing to do 
with the skill of labor or the presence of natural resources. It 
was the result of the deliberate policy of the mother country. 
The ban on sugar refining in the islands corresponded to the 
ban on iron and textile manufacture on the mainland. Should 


they have refiners in England or the plantations? asked Sir 
Thomas Clifford in 1671. "Five ships go. for the blacks," was 
his answer, "and not above two if refined in the plantations; 
and so you destroy shipping, and all that belongs to it; and if 
you lose this advantage to England, you lose all." Hence the 
heavy duty placed on refined sugar imported into England, 
four times as much as upon the brown sugar. By this policy 
England was called upon for a larger number of casks for the 
raw sugar, more coals and victuals were consumed, and the 
national revenues increased. 114 Davenant's pleas for permission 
of colonial refining 115 fell on deaf ears. 

It is significant that a similar struggle was taking place 
in France, resulting in a similar victory for the mercantilists. 
Colbert had permitted the refining of sugar in the French West 
Indies, and raw and refined sugar from the islands paid the same 
duty in France. But in 1682 the duty on refined sugar was 
doubled, while two years later, under penalty of a fine of 3,000 
livres, it was forbidden to erect new refineries in the islands. A 
decree of 1698 was even more drastic. The duty on raw sugar 
from the West Indies was lowered from four to three livres per 
hundredweight, while the duty on refined sugar was increased 
from eight to twenty-two and a half livres. This latter figure 
was the same duty charged on refined sugar from foreign lands: 
"the drastic nature of the protection afforded the French re- 
finers as against their compatriots in the colonies becomes ap- 
parent." 116 

The sugar refining interest of England was encouraged by 
such legislation. It did not always see eye to eye with the plant- 
ing interest on whom it depended for supplies. Under the mer- 
cantile system the sugar planters had a monopoly of the home 
market, and foreign imports were prohibited. It was therefore 
the policy of the planters to restrict production in order to 
maintain a high price. Their legal monopoly of the home mar- 
ket was a powerful weapon in their hands, and they used it 
mercilessly, at the expense of the whole population of England. 
While the price of sugar was being naturally forced down in 
the world market by the increase of sugar cultivation in the 
French, Spanish and Portuguese colonies, the British planters 


were intent on maintaining a monopoly price in the home 

The friends of the planters warned them of the "fatal and 
wretched error" they were making, for "if the British planta- 
tions cannot, or will not, afford sugar, etc., plenty and cheap 
enough the French, Dutch, and Portuguese do, and will." 117 
There were not wanting writers, as early as 1730, who urged 
the government to "open the sluices of the laws, and let in even 
the French sugar upon them, till they would serve us at least 
as cheap as our neighbors are serv'd." 118 In 1739 Jamaica re- 
quested assistance from the mother country. The Council of 
Trade and Plantations issued a clear and unmistakable warning. 
Jamaica had twice as much land as all the Leeward Islands com- 
bined, yet the exports of the Leeward Islands exceeded those 
of Jamaica. "From whence it would naturally follow that not 
one half of your lands are at present cultivated, and that Great 
Britain does not reap half the benefit from your Colony, which 
she might do if it were fully settled." 119 

The planters would not listen. In the eighteenth century, they 
did not have to. The refiners of London, Westminster, South- 
wark and Bristol protested to Parliament in 1753 against the 
selfishness of the planters and the "most intolerable kind of a 
tax" represented by the higher price of British sugar. The re- 
finers urged Parliament to make it the interest of the sugar 
planters to produce more raw sugar by increasing the area 
under cultivation. They were careful, however, not'to pretend 
to "set ourselves in competition with the inhabitants of all the 
sugar colonies, either for numbers, wealth, or consequence to 
the public." Parliament sidetracked the issue by passing resolu- 
tions afyout the encouragement of white settlers in Jamaica. 120 

Another crisis in relations between producers and processors 
developed during the American Revolution. Imports of sugar 
declined by one-third between 1774 and 1780. Prices were 
high, and the refiners, in distress, petitioned Parliament for re- 
lief in the form of the admission of prize sugar. Reading be- 
tween the lines of the evidence taken by the parliamentary 
committee on the subject, we see the conflict of interests be- 
tween refiner and planter. High prices benefited the planter, 


while the refiners wanted an increased supply which the 
planters would not, or could not, give. If they would not, make 
them; the refiners of Bristol recommended "a salutary law," 
which would "make it the interest of the British sugar colonies, 
to extend the cultivation of their lands, in order to enable 
them to raise a larger produce, and to send greater quantities 
of sugar to Great Britain, and thereby become more useful to 
their mother country, its trade, navigation, and revenue." 121 If 
they could not, buy elsewhere the French colonies, for ex- 
ample. "Was I a refiner," said one witness, a wholesale grocer, 
"I should certainly prefer St. Domingo sugars to any other." 122 
The chasm was yawning at the feet of the sugar planter, but, 
head held proudly in the air, he went his way mumbling the 
lesson he had been taught by the mercantilists and which he had 
learned not wisely but too well. 

4. Rum Distillation 

Yet another colonial raw material gave birth to yet another 
English industry. One of the important by-products of sugar is 
molasses, from which rum may be distilled. But rum never at- 
tained the importance of cotton, far less of sugar, as a contribu- 
tion to British industry, partly, perhaps, because much rum was 
imported direct from the islands in its finished state. Imports 
from the islands increased from 58,000 gallons in 1721 to 320,000 
in 1730. In 1763 the figure stood at one and a quarter million 
gallons and was steadily over two million between 1765 and 

i 779 . 123 

Rum was indispensable in the fisheries and the fur trade, and 
as a naval ration. But its connection with the triangular trade 
was more direct still. Rum was an essential part of the cargo of 
the slave ship, particularly the colonial American slave ship. 
No slave trader could afford to dispense with a cargo of rum. 
It was profitable to spread a taste for liquor on the coast. The 
Negro dealers were plied with it, were induced to drink till 
they lost their reason, and then the bargain was struck. 124 One 
slave dealer, his bag full of the gold paid him for his slaves, 
stupidly accepted the slave captain's invitation to dinner. He 
was made drunk and awoke next morning to find his money 


gone and himself stripped, branded and enslaved with his own 
victims, to the great mirth of the sailors. 125 In 1765 two dis- 
tilleries were established at Liverpool for the express purpose 
of supplying ships bound for Africa. 126 Of equal importance to 
the mercantilist was the fact that from molasses could be ob- 
tained, in addition to rum, brandy and low wines imported 
from France. The distilleries were an important evidence of 
Bristol's interest in the sugar plantations, and many were the 
jeremiads which they sent to Parliament in defence of their in- 
terests and in opposition to the importation of French brandies. 
Bishop Berkeley voiced the prevailing feeling when he asked 
acidly, in strict mercantilist language, "whether if drunkenness 
be a necessary evil, men may not as well get drunk with the 
growth of their own country?" 

The eighteenth century in England was notorious for its 
alcoholism. The popular drink was gin, immortalized by Ho- 
garth in his Gin Lane. A classic advertisement of a gin shop in 
Southwark read: "Drunk for a penny, dead drunk for two- 
pence, clean straw for nothing." Gin and rum contended for 
pride of place. 

The West Indian planters argued that the rum they produced 
was equal to one-fourth of the value of all their other products. 
To prohibit the sale of rum would therefore be to ruin them, 
and drive the people to foreign substitutes. The planters ex- 
pressed the hope that the suppression of the evils occasioned by 
the excessive use of spirituous liquors would not entail the de- 
struction of the sugar trade. 127 As they saw it, the question was 
not whether people should drink, but what they should drink. 
Gin, argued an anonymous writer, was "vastly more destructive 
to the human frame" than rum. "Gin is a spirit too fiery, acrid, 
and inflameing for inward use but. . . . Rum is a spirit so mild, 
balsamic and benign, that if its properly used and attempered 
it may be made highly useful, both for the relief and regale- 
ment of human nature." 128 This was a strange description of 
the spirit which the Barbadians more appropriately nicknamed 

Against the planters it was contended that the West Indian 
rum trade was too unimportant to permit the continuance of a 


glaring enormity which tended to destroy the health and morals 
of the people of Great Britain. 129 It is not unlikely that other 
considerations were involved. Rum competed with spirits made 
from corn. The West India interest was therefore at odds with 
the English agricultural interest. The sugar planters charged 
that distilling from corn tended to raise the price of bread. This 
concern for the poor consumer of bread was touching, coming 
as it did from extortionists who wanted the poor to spend 
more money on their sugar, and it antedated by a hundred 
years a similar but more significant conflict between English 
farmers and English industralists, over cheaper bread or lower 
wages for the working classes. "Molasses" embittered the rela- 
tions between West Indian sugar planter and English landlord 
as it embittered relations between planter and mainland colon- 
ist, and the West India interest was always quick to recommend 
its substitution in England whenever there was a grain short- 
age, they said, but in reality whenever there was a glut of sugar. 
"Sweet gentlemen!" wrote an anonymous champion of the 
barley counties in 1807. "They have sought a very far fetched 
argument in support of their saccharine cause"; 130 and Michael 
Sadler, in 1831, opposed the idea: "A wholesome beverage 
might be made from that article, but the people of England 
did not like it." 131 

The real enemy, however, of the West Indian distiller was 
not the English farmer but the New England distiller. The 
New England traders refused to purchase West Indian rum and 
insisted on molasses, which they themselves distilled, and sent to 
Newfoundland, the Indian tribes, and above all Africa. The 
rum trade on the slave coast became a virtual monopoly of New 
England. In 1770 New England exports of rum to Africa rep- 
resented over four-fifths of the total colonial export of that 
year, 132 and yet another important vested interest drew its 
sustenance from the triangular trade. But here, too, lay the 
seed of future disruption. French West Indian molasses was 
cheaper than British, because French distilling was not per- 
mitted to compete with the brandies of the home country. 
Rather than feed their molasses to their horses, they preferred 
to sell it to the mainland colonists. The latter therefore turned 


to the French planters, and molasses was one of the principal 
items in that trade between mainland and the foreign sugar 
colonies which, as the sequel showed, had far-reaching conse- 
quences for the British sugar planters. 

5. Pacotille 

The slave cargoes were incomplete without the "pacotille," 
the sundry items and gewgaws which appealed to the Africans' 
love of bright colors and for which, after having sold their fel- 
lows, they would, late in the nineteenth century, part with 
their land and grant mining concessions. Articles of glass and 
beads were always in demand on the slave coast, and on the 
plantations there was a great demand for bottles. Most of these 
articles were manufactured in Bristol. 133 One slave dealer re- 
ceived a fine Negro from a prince in return for thirteen beads 
of coral, half a string of amber, twenty-eight silver bells, and 
three pairs of bracelets for his women; in acknowledgment of 
this liberality, he presented to the prince's favorite a present of 
some rows of glass beads and about four ounces of scarlet 
wool. 134 Individually these items were of negligible value; in 
the aggregate they constituted a trade of great importance, so 
essential a part of the slave transactions that the word "paco- 
tille" is still commonly used in the West Indies today to denote 
a cheap and tawdry bauble given as compensation for objects 
of great value. 

6. The Metallurgical Industries 

Slave trading demanded goods more gruesome though not a 
whit less useful than woolen and cotton manufacturers. Fetters 
and chains and padlocks were needed to fasten the Negroes 
more securely on the slave ships and thus prevent both mutiny 
and suicide. The practice of branding the slaves to identify 
them required red-hot irons. Legal regulations prescribed that 
on any ship designed for Africa, the East Indies, or the West 
Indies, "three-fourths of their proportion of beer was to be put 
in iron bound cask, hooped with iron hoops of good substance, 
and well wrought iron." 135 Iron bars were the trading medium 
on a large part of the African coast and were equivalent to four 


copper bars. 136 Iron bars constituted nearly three-quarters of 
the value of the cargo of the Swallow in 1679, nearly one- 
quarter of the cargo of the Mary in 1690, nearly one-fifth of a 
slave cargo in I733- 137 In 1682 the Royal African Company was 
exporting about 10,000 bars of iron a year. 138 The ironmasters, 
too, found a useful market in Africa. 

Guns formed a regular part of every African cargo. Bir- 
mingham became the center of the gun trade as Manchester 
was of the cotton trade. The struggle between Birmingham 
and London over the gun trade was merely another angle to 
the struggle for free trade or monopoly which we have already 
noticed for the slave trade in general between the capital and 
the outports. In 1709 and 1710 the gun makers of London 
petitioned in favor of the Royal African Company's monopoly. 
The Birmingham gun makers and iron makers threw their 
weight and influence against the company and the London in- 
terests. Three times, in 1708, 1709, and 1711, they petitioned 
against a renewal of the company's monopoly which had been 
modified in i698. 130 Their trade had increased since then and 
they feared a renewal of the monopoly, which would subject 
their manufactures "to one buyer, or to anyone monopolizing 
society, exclusive of all others." 140 

In the nineteenth century Birmingham guns were exchanged 
for African palm-oil, but the eighteenth century saw a less in- 
nocent exchange. The Birmingham guns of the eighteenth cen- 
tury were exchanged for men, and it was a common saying 
that the price of a Negro was one Birmingham gun. The 
African musket was an important Birmingham export, reach- 
ing a total of 100,000 to 150,000 annually. With the British 
government and the East India Company, Africa ranked as the 
most important customer of the Birmingham gunmakers. 141 

The needs of the plantations too were not to be despised. In 
the late seventeenth century the ironmasters, Sitwells, of Derby- 
shire were producing among their items sugar stoves and rollers 
for crushing cane in Barbados, and Birmingham, too, was in- 
terested in the plantations. 142 Exports of wrought iron and nails 
went to the plantations, though these exports tended to fluctu- 
ate according to the condition of the sugar trade. As one iron- 
master said in 1737: "The bad state of some of our sugar islands 


has been . . . some prejudice to the iron-trade; for the con- 
sumption of iron ware, in those islands, is more or less, as their 
trade for sugar is better or worse." 143 An old historian of the 
city has left us a picture of Birmingham's interest in the colonial 
system: "axes for India, and tomahawks for the natives of 
North America; and to Cuba and the Brazils chains, handcuffs, 
and iron collars for the poor slaves. . . .In the primeval forests 
of America the Birmingham axe struck down the old trees; 
the cattle pastures of Australia rang with the sound of Birming- 
ham bells; in East India and the West they tended the fields of 
sugar cane with Birmingham hoes." 144 

Along with iron went brass, copper and lead. The exports 
of brass pans and kettles to Africa dated back before 1660 but 
increased with free trade after 1698. Thereafter Birmingham 
began to export large quantities of cutlery and brass goods, and 
throughout the eighteenth century British goods effectively 
sustained competition with foreign in colonial markets. The 
Cheadle Company, founded in North Staffordshire in 1719, 
soon became one of the leading brass and copper concerns in 
England. It extended the scope of its operations to include the 
brass wire, "the Guinea rods" and the "manelloes" (metal rings 
worn by the African tribes) used in the African trade. The 
company's capital increased eleven times between 1734 and 
1780 when the company was reorganized. "Starting from small 
beginnings . . ., it became one of the most important, if not the 
most important, of the brass and copper concerns of the eight- 
eenth century." According to tradition, ships sailed to Africa 
with the holds full of idols and "manelloes," while the cabins 
were occupied by missionaries "an edifying example of a 
material good in competition with an immaterial one." 145 The 
Baptist Mills of Bristol produced a prodigious quantity of brass 
which, drawn into wire and formed into "battery," was ex- 
tensively used in the African trade. 146 The Holywell works, in 
addition to producing copper sheathing for the Liverpool 
ships, manufactured brass pans for the West Indian sugar and 
East India tea merchants, and all varieties of cheap and gaudy 
brass instruments for the African trade. 147 Brass pans and kettles 
were exported to Africa and the plantations, and in one list, 
after the heading "brass pans," we read "ditto large to wash 


their bodies in." 148 These "bath pans," made now of galvanized 
tin, are still a normal feature of West Indian life today. 

The needs of shipbuilding gave a further stimulus to heavy 
industry. The iron chain and anchor foundries, of which there 
were many in Liverpool, lived off the building of ships. Copper 
sheathing for the vessels gave rise to local industries in the town 
and adjacent districts to supply the demand. Between thirty and 
forty vessels were employed in transporting the copper, smelted 
in Lancashire and Cheshire, from the works at Holywell to the 
warehouses in Liverpool. 149 

The ironmaster's interest in the slave trade continued 
throughout the century. When the question of abolition came 
before Parliament, the manufacturers of and dealers in iron, 
copper, brass and lead in Liverpool petitioned against the proj- 
ect, which would affect employment in the town and send 
forth thousands as "solitary wanderers into the world, to seek 
employment in foreign climes." 150 In the same year Birming- 
ham declared that it was dependent on the slave trade to a con- 
siderable extent for a large part of its various manufactures. 
Abolition would ruin the town and impoverish many of its in- 
habitants. 151 

These apprehensions were exaggerated. The munitions de- 
mand for the commercial wars of the eighteenth century had 
prepared the ironmasters for the still greater demands to come 
during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. The colonial 
markets, moreover, were inadequate to absorb the increased 
production which resulted from the technological innovations. 
Between 1710 and 1735 iron exports almost trebled. In 1710 
the British West Indies took over one-fifth of the exports, in 
1735 less than one-sixth. In 1710, over one-third of the exports 
to the plantations went to the sugar islands, in 1735 over one- 
quarter. The peak was reached in 1729, when the West Indies 
took nearly one-quarter of the total exports, and nearly one- 
half of the exports to all the plantations. 162 Expansion at home, 
contraction in the sugar islands. In 1783 the ironmasters, too, 
were beginning to look the other way. But Cinderella, decked 
out temporarily in her fancy clothes, was enjoying herself too 
much at the ball to pay any attention to the hands of the clock. 



"OuR TOBACCO COLONIES," wrote Adam Smith, "send us home 
no such wealthy planters as we see frequently arrive from our 
sugar islands." 1 The sugar planter ranked among the biggest 
capitalists of the mercantilist epoch. A very popular play, "The 
West Indian," was produced in London in 1771. It opens with 
a tremendous reception being prepared for a planter coming to 
England, as if it were the Lord Mayor who was expected. The 
servant philosophized: "He's very rich, and that's sufficient. 
They say he has rum and sugar enough belonging to him, to 
make all the water in the Thames into punch." 2 

The West Indian planter was a familiar figure in English 
society in the eighteenth century. The explanation lies in the 
absentee landlordism which has always been the curse of the 
Caribbean and is still one of its major problems today. 

One absentee planter once argued that "the climate of our 
sugar colonies is so inconvenient for an English constitution, 
that no man will chuse to live there, much less will any man 
chuse to settle there, without the hopes at least of supporting 
his family in a more handsome manner, or saving more money, 
than he can do by any business he can expect in England, or in 
our plantations upon the continent of America." 3 But the West 
Indian climate is not disagreeable, and, his fortune once made, 
the slave owner returned to Britain. Writing in 1689 the agent 
for Barbados stated that "by a kind of magnetic force England 
draws to it all that is good in the plantations. It is the center to 
which all things tend. Nothing but England can we relish or 



fancy: our hearts are here, wherever our bodies be. ... All that 
we can rap and rend is brought to England." 4 In 1698 the West 
Indies were sending back annually to England about three hun- 
dred children to be educated, the difference being, according 
to Davenant, that the fathers went out poor and the children 
came back rich. 5 "Well," says Mr. Belcour, the planter, in the 
comedy "The West Indian," "for the first time in my life here 
am I in England, at the fountain-head of pleasure, in the land of 
beauty, of arts, of elegancies. My happy stars have given me a 
good estate, and the conspiring winds have blown me hither to 
spend it." 6 Returned to England, the planters' fondest wish 
was to acquire an estate, blend with the aristocracy, and remove 
the marks of their origin. Their presence in England, as Broug- 
ham pointed out, had a frequently deleterious effect on Eng- 
lish character and morals; where they were numerous and had 
acquired land, they commonly introduced a bad state of man- 
ners into the locality. 7 Their colossal wealth permitted lavish 
expenditures which smacked of vulgarity and excited the envy 
and disapproval of the less opulent English aristocracy. 

The political economist, Merivale, later in the nineteenth 
century argued that the change from residence to absenteeism 
was a credit rather than a disgrace to the English character, as 
evincing a distaste for the deep-rooted hard-heartedness and 
profligacy of life in the slave colonies. But that peculiar fastidi- 
ousness which shrank from contact with slavery whilst it had 
no objection to enjoying the profits of slavery, Merivale could 
explain only by "the general apology of the inconsistency of 
human nature." 8 

Absenteeism, however, had serious consequences in the 
islands. Plantations were left to be mismanaged by overseers and 
attorneys. On occasions governors found it difficult to obtain 
a quorum for the councils. Many offices were held by a single 
individual, and the disproportion between white and black 
population was increased, aggravating the danger of slave re- 
bellions. The Deficiency Laws failed to restrain the practice of 
absenteeism, so the local assemblies tried to confiscate the large 
tracts of land lying idle and owned by absentees, and proposed 
their redivision among small farms. Both measures were opposed 


by the British government at the insistence of the absentee 
planters. 9 

Of the sugar planters resident in England the most prominent 
were the Beckfords, an old Gloucestershire family dating back 
to the twelfth century. One died fighting for his king on Bos- 
worth Field in 1483, another found in the English conquest of 
Jamaica a means of retrieving the family fortunes. In 1670 
Alderman Sir Thomas Beckford, one of the first of absentee 
proprietors, was getting 2,000 per annum from his Jamaican 
property clear of all charges. Peter Beckford became the most 
distinguished of the new colonists. He held in the course of 
time all the most important military and civil positions in the 
island, became President of the Council and later Lieutenant- 
Go vernor and Commander-in-Chief. At his death in 1710 he 
"was in possesion of the largest property real and personal of 
any subject in Europe." In 1737 his grandson, William, in- 
herited the family wealth and became the most powerful West 
Indian planter in England. 10 

Beckford, on his Wiltshire estate, built Fonthill Mansion, 
long regarded as the most attractive and splendid seat in the 
West of England. 

"It was a handsome, uniform edifice, consisting of a centre of 
four stories, and two wings of two stories, connected by cor- 
ridors, built of fine stone, and adorned with a bold portico, 
resting on a rustic basement, with two sweeping flights of steps: 
its apartments were numerous, and splendidly furnished. They 
displayed the riches and luxury of the east; and on particular 
occasions were superbly brilliant and dazzling. Whilst its walls 
were adorned with the most costly works of art, its sideboards 
and cabinets presented a gorgeous combination of gold, silver, 
precious metals, and precious stones, arranged and worked by 
the most tasteful artists and artisans. Added to these splendours, 
these dazzling objects, apparently augmented and multiplied 
by large costly mirrors, was a vast, choice, and valuable li- 
brary. . . . Some idea may be formed of the extent, etc., of the 
house by the measurement of its great entrance hall, in the base- 
ment story, which was eighty-five feet ten inches in length, by 
thirty-eight feet six inches in breadth. Its roof was vaulted, and 


supported by large stone piers. One apartment was fitted up in 
the Turkish style, with large mirrors, ottomans, etc., whilst 
others were enriched with fine sculptured marble chimney- 

Beckford, Junior, was not to be outdone. Possessed of a 
vivid fancy and a vast fortune which, according to the family 
historian, could not be satisfied with anything commonplace, he 
desired novelty, grandeur, complexity and even sublimity. The 
result was Fonthill Abbey, the construction of which provided 
employment for a vast number of mechanics and laborers, even 
a new village being built to accomodate some of the settlers. 
The abbey grounds were in one section planted with every 
species of American flowering shrub and tree, growing in all 
their native wildness. 12 In 1837 Beckford was awarded 15,160 
by way of compensation for 770 slaves he owned in Jamaica. 13 

The Hibberts were West Indian planters as well as merchants, 
who, as we have seen, supplied cotton and linen checks for 
Africa and the plantations. Robert Hibbert lived in Bedford- 
shire off the income from his West Indian property. His planta- 
tion was one of the finest in Jamaica; "though he was always 
an eminently kind master," his biographer assures us, "he had no 
repugnance to this kind of property on moral grounds." On 
his death he left in trust a fund yielding about one thousand 
pounds per annum for three or more divinity scholarships to 
encourage the spread of Christianity in its simplest and most 
intelligible form and the unfettered exercise of private judg- 
ment in matters of religion. 14 A relative, George, was partner 
in an opulent trading firm in London, and was for many years 
agent of Jamaica in England. George Hibbert took the lead 
in the construction of the West India Docks. He was elected 
first chairman of the board of directors, and today his portrait, 
painted by Lawrence, hangs in the board room of the Port of 
London Authority. A great collector of books, the sale of his 
library lasted forty-two days. 15 The Hibberts received 31,120 
in compensation for their 1,618 slaves. 16 The family mansion in 
Kingston, one of the oldest houses in Jamaica, still stands today, 
while the family name is perpetuated in the Hibbert Journal, 


the celebrated quarterly journal devoted to religion, theology 
and philosophy. First published in October, 1902, the Journal 
had "the sanction and support of the Hibbert Trustees," who, 
however, disclaimed responsibility for the opinions expressed 
in its pages. 17 

Also connected with Jamaica were the Longs. Charles Long, 
at his death, left property in Suffolk, a house in Bloomsbury, 
London, and total property in Jamaica comprising 14,000 acres. 
He enjoyed a very great income, by far the largest of any 
Jamaican proprietor of that period, and was accordingly en- 
titled to live in splendor. 18 His grandson, a Jamaican planter, 
wrote a well-known history of the island. A relative, Beeston 
Long, Jr., was chairman of the London Dock Company and 
a Bank director, and his family mansion in Bishopsgate Street, 
London, was justly famous. 19 Another member of the family, 
Lord Farnborough, built Bromley Hill Place in Kent, one of 
the most famous mansions of England, noted for its wonderful 
ornamental gardens. 20 

Not content with his partnership in the Liverpool business 
house of Corrie and Company engaged in the grain trade, John 

Gladstone was indirectlv concerned in the slave traffic as a 


slave owner in the West Indies. "Like many more merchants of 
reputed probity and honesty, (he) was able to satisfy his con- 
science by arguing it to be a necessity." Gladstone, through 
foreclosures, acquired large plantations in British Guiana and 
Jamaica, while at the same time he was extensively engaged in 
the West Indian trade. The sugar and other produce which he 
sold on the Liverpool Exchange were grown on his own planta- 
tions and imported in his own ships. The fortune amassed by 
this means permitted him to open up trade connections with 
Russia, India and China and to make large and fortunate invest- 
ments in land and house property in Liverpool. He contributed 
largely to the charities of Liverpool, built and endowed 
churches, and was an eloquent champion in the town of the 
Greeks in their struggle for independence. When his famous 
son, William Ewart, was electioneering in Newark in 1832, a 
public journal, accurately if not in good taste, reminded the 
electors that the candidate was "the son of Gladstone of Liver- 


pool, a person who had amassed a large fortune by West India 
dealings. In other words, a great part of his gold has sprung 
from the blood of black slaves." 21 During the greater part of 
the agitation for emancipation John Gladstone was chairman 
of the West India Association, and on one occasion conducted 
a memorable controversy in one of the Liverpool journals with 
James Cropper, a Liverpool abolitionist, on the question of 
West Indian slavery. 22 The compensation paid to Gladstone in 
1837, in accordance with the Act of 1833, amounted to 85,600 
for 2,183 slaves. 23 

The Codringtons were another well-known family which 
owed its wealth and status to its slave and sugar plantations. 
Christopher Codrington was governor of Barbados during the 
seventeenth century, and his plantations in Barbados and Bar- 
buda were worth 100,000 in modern money. He founded a 
college there which still bears his name, and on his death left 
10,000, most of it for a library, and his valuable collection of 
books worth 6,000 to All Souls College, Oxford, where they 
formed the nucleus of the famous Codrington Library. One of 

his descendants was hero of the naval victory of Navarino in 


the cause of Greek Independence in the nineteenth century. 24 
The Warner family was dispersed over the Leeward Islands, 
some in Antigua, some in Dominica, some in St. Vincent, some 
in Trinidad. Thomas Warner was a pioneer among British 
colonists in the Caribbean. Joseph, one of the family, rose to be 
one of the three leading surgeons of his day, surgeon at Guy's 
Hospital, and first member of the College of Surgeons founded 
in 1750. His picture by Samuel Medley is in the possession of 
the Royal College of Surgeons. In the nineteenth century 
another Warner was President of the Council of Antigua, while 
yet another, as Attorney-General of Trinidad, was the great 
advocate of East Indian immigration. Perhaps the best known 
of this West Indian family is Pelham Warner, famous English 
cricketer and acknowledged authority on the great English 
game. 25 

Other names, less spectacular, recall the glory that was sugar. 
Bryan Edwards, historian of the British West Indies at the end 
of the eighteenth century, would, by his own confession, have 


lived and died in oblivion on the small paternal estate in the de- 
cayed town of Westbury in Wiltshire, but for his two opulent 
uncles engaged in sugar cultivation in the West Indies. 20 The 
Pinneys, well-known in Bristol, owned sugar plantations in 
Nevis. 27 Joseph Marry at 's son was Captain Frederick Marry at, 
the famous novelist of sea life, and the inventor of a code of 
signals for the merchant marine not abandoned until i857. 28 
Colonel William Macdowall was the most notable figure in 
Glasgow. "Owner of a noble mansion in the country and a 
rich estate in the West-Indies, with ships on the seas and cargoes 
of sugar and rum constantly coming home, he had also the 
social prestige of his army rank and his long family descent, and 
must have held the regard of everyone as he stepped, with his 
tall goldheaded cane, along the causeway." 29 

Bryan Edwards indignantly denied the charge that his fellow 
planters were remarkable for gigantic opulence or an ostenta- 
tious display of it. The available evidence points to the con- 
trary. The wealth of the West Indians became proverbial. Com- 
munities of opulent West Indians were to be found in London 
and Bristol, and the memorial plaques in All Saints' Church, 
Southampton, speak eloquently of the social position they once 
enjoyed. 30 The public schools of Eton, Westminster, Harrow, 
and Winchester, were full of the sons of West Indians. 31 The 
carriages of the planters were so numerous, that, when they 
gathered, Londoners complained that the streets were for some 
distance blocked. The story is told of how, on a visit to Wey- 
mouth, George III and Pitt encountered a wealthy Jamaican 
with an imposing equipage, including out-riders and livery. 
George HI, much displeased, is reported to have said, "Sugar, 
sugar, eh? all that sugar! How are the duties, eh, Pitt, how are 
the duties?" 32 West Indian planters were familiar visitors at the 
resorts of Epsom and Cheltenham; 33 their children mingled on 
terms of equality with the elegant throngs at the Assembly 
Rooms and the Hot Wells of Bristol. 34 A West Indian heiress 
was a desirable plum, and Charles James Fox almost decided that 
the 80,000 fortune of Miss Phipps was the solution to his heavy 
gambling debts. 35 One might speculate on what effect such 
a marriage would have had on Fox's career as an abolitionist:. 


Many a humble individual in England rose to wealth and af- 
fluence from some chance legacy of a West Indian plantation. 
The time came when such a legacy was considered gall and 
wormwood, 36 but it was not so in the eighteenth century. 
George Colman's play, "Africans," portrays in Young Mr. 
Marrowbone, the butcher, a situation that must have been very 
familiar to the audience. The butcher was left a West Indian 
plantation, and "now barters for blacks, instead of bargaining 
for bullocks." 37 

The strength of the planters was increased, too, by the large 
number of West Indian merchants who drew vast profits from 
the West Indian trade. According to Professor Namier, "there 
were comparatively few big merchants in Great Britain in 1761 
who, in one connection or another, did not trade with the West 
Indies, and a considerable number of gentry families had in- 
terests in the Sugar Islands, just as vast numbers of Englishmen 
now hold shares in Asiatic rubber or tea plantations or oil 
fields." 38 The two groups did not always see eye to eye. At 
the outset planters and merchants represented distinct organiza- 
tions, and the bond between them credit did not always 
make for harmony. But this in itself would not have been a 
basic cause for conflict, as the merchant could always have re- 
course to foreclosure. More important than the factor of debt 
was the planters' determination to maintain monopoly prices, 
and in the struggle for the grant of a direct trade to Europe in 
1739 ill-feeling between the two groups increased consider- 
ably. 39 But by and large the identity of interests was greater 
and more important than the clash, and planters and merchants 
finally coalesced about 1780, when all the strength they could 
jointly muster was soon to be needed to strengthen the dykes 
of monopoly against the gathering torrent of free trade. 

The combination of these two forces, planters and merchants, 
coupled with colonial agents in England, constituted the pow- 
erful West India interest of the eighteenth century. In the 
classic age of parliamentary corruption and electoral venality, 
their money talked. They bought votes and rotten boroughs 
and so got into Parliament. Their competition forced up the 


price of seats. The Earl of Chesterfield was laughed to scorn 
in 1767 when he offered 2,500 for a seat for which a West 
Indian would offer double. 40 No private hereditary English 
fortune could resist this torrent of colonial gold and corruption. 
The English landed aristocracy were indignant, "vexed, put to 
great expenses, and even baffled" by the West Indians at elec- 
tions. 41 There is an unmistakable note of this concern in the 
warning issued by Cumberland in his drama to the West 
Indian ostentatiously flaunting his wealth and boasting of his 
plans to spend it. "To use it, not to waste it, I should hope; to 
treat it, Mr. Belcour, not as a vassal, over whom you have a 
wanton and a despotic power; but as a subject, which you are 
bound to govern with a temperate and restrained authority." 42 
In the elections of 1830 a West Indian planter successfully spent 
18,000 getting himself elected in Bristol. 43 The election ex- 
penses of the unsuccessful West Indian candidate in Liverpool 
in the same year cost nearly 50,000, of which a rich West 
Indian merchant, slave trader and slaveowner, John Bolton, 
supplied one-fifth. 44 

The Beckford dynasty was fittingly represented in Parlia- 
ment in accordance with its wealth. King William was M.P. 
for Shaftesbury from 1747-1754, and for the metropolis from 
1754-1770. Another brother represented Bristol, a third Salis- 
bury, while a fourth was intended for a Wiltshire borough. 45 
Richard Pennant at one time represented Liverpool. 46 One of 
the Codringtons was a member of Parliament in I737- 47 George 
Hibbert represented Seaford from 1806 to i8i2. 48 Edward 
Colston, the Cunard of the seventeenth century, sat for Bristol 
from 1710 to I7i3- 49 The West India interest established a 
monopoly, in all but name, of one Bristol seat. John Gladstone 
sat first for Woodstock and then for Lancaster; it was his 
pleasure to listen in May, 1833, to the maiden speech of his son, 
M.P. for Newark, in defence of slavery on the family estates 
in Guiana. 50 The great statesman found all his filial feelings in- 
volved in the question of slavery, and his family connections 
with West Indian sugar plantations brought out all his elo- 
quence. 51 One of the Lascelles sat in Parliament in I757- 62 To 
the bitter end Henry Goulburn fought the West Indian battle. 


In 1833 he was still asking Parliament to mark the impulse 
given to trade and agriculture, and to look at the hamlets that 
had sprung into towns, in consequence of the connection with 
the colonies. 53 Parliament paid no heed, and Goulburn had to 
be content with nearly 5,000 compensation for his 242 slaves. 54 
Joseph Marryat of Trinidad, Henry Bright of Bristol, Keith 
Douglas, Charles Ellis, all were West Indians. Ten out of fifteen 
members of one of the most important committees of the So- 
ciety of Planters and Merchants held seats in the English 
Parliament. 55 

To make assurance doubly sure the West Indians, like the 
slave traders, were entrenched not only in the lower house but 
also in the House of Lords, to defend their plantations and the 
social structure on which they rested. Passage from one house 
to another was easy, peerages were readily conferred in return 
for political support. There are few, if any, noble houses in 
England, according to a modern writer, without a West Indian 
strain. 56 Richard Pennant became Lord Penrhyn. The Lascelles, 
an old Barbadian family, were ennobled and became Hare- 
woods; one of their descendants is at present married to the 
sister of the reigning King of England. The Marquis of Chan- 
dos, sponsor of the "Chandos Clause" in the Reform Bill of 
1832, owned West Indian plantations and was a spokesman of 
the West India interest, though he lived to see the day when it 
was almost hopeless to advocate the cause of the West Indies. 57 
The Earl of Balcarres possessed sugar plantations in Jamaica. 
Emancipation found him owner of 640 slaves, for whom he re- 
ceived nearly 12,300 compensation. 58 This explains his hysteri- 
cal opposition, as governor of the island, to the convention 
made by General Maitland with the slave leader, Toussaint 
L'Ouverture, for the evacuation of Saint Domingue after Brit- 
ain's abortive effort to conquer the French colony. "It would 
be thought somewhat odd," he wrote home, "if the City of 
London should send over an immense quantity of provisions 
and clothing for the use of the sans culotte army assembled for 
the purpose of invading England!" 59 Lord Hawkesbury, ne 
Jenkinson, was a West Indian proprietor, 60 and, as President of 
the Privy Council for Trade, he lent consistent support to the 


cause of the slave owners and slave traders. For this devotion 
tracts in favor of the slave trade were dedicated to him, 61 and 
Liverpool conferred on him the freedom of the city in gratitude 
for the essential services rendered to the town by his exertions 
in Parliament in support of the slave trade. 62 Hawkesbury 
symbolized the connection by assuming the title Earl of Liver- 
pool when raised to the peerage and accepting the Corpora- 
tion's offer to quarter its arms with his own. 63 

It was not only the mother of parliaments that the slave- 
owners dominated. Like their allies, the sugar merchants and 
slave traders, they were in evidence everywhere, as aldermen, 
mayors and councillors. William Beckford was alderman of the 
city of London and twice Lord Mayor. Contemporaries laughed 
at his faulty Latin and loud voice; they were forced to respect 
his wealth, position and political influence. As mayor his 
civic entertainments were magnificent. On one occasion, at a 
sumptuous banquet, six dukes, two marquises, twenty-three 
earls, four viscounts, and fourteen barons of the Upper House 
joined the members of the Commons and went in procession to 
the city to honor him. He remains famous, this slaveowner, for 
his defence of Wilkes and liberty of speech, indifferent to royal 
displeasure. 64 In the London Guildhall there stands a splendid 
monument erected in his honor, with the famous speech, graven 
in letters of gold on the pedestal, which made George III 
blush. 05 His brother Richard was also an alderman of the city 
of London. William Miles lived to become an alderman of 
Bristol. George Hibbert became an alderman of London. 66 

The West India interest had powerful friends. Chatham was 
the consistent defender of West Indian claims, right or wrong, 
and was a close friend of Beckford. "He should ever consider 
the sugar colonies as the landed interest of this kingdom, and 
it was a barbarism to consider them otherwise." 67 John Glad- 
stone and John Bolton were vigorous supporters of Canning, 
who always harped on the fearfulness and delicacy and "most 
awful importance" of the West Indian question. 68 Huskisson 
and Wellington were very cordially disposed to the planters, 
the latter refusing to "plunder the proprietors in the West 
Indies in order to acquire for themselves a little popularity in 


England," 69 the former considering emancipation unattainable 
by legislative interposition or statutory enactment. 70 But the 
recalcitrance of the planters and their wilful refusal to make 
concessions to the anti-slavery sentiment of England later 
alienated these friends. Canning found West Indian slavery an 
unpalatable topic; 71 slave questions nearly drove Huskisson mad 
and the planters seemed to him insane; 72 Wellington, before 
the final word was said on British slavery, subjected a West 
Indian deputation in London to some rough treatment. 73 

Allied with the other great monopolists of the eighteenth 
century, the landed aristocracy, and the commercial bour- 
geoisie of the seaport towns, this powerful West India interest 
exerted in the unreformed Parliament an influence sufficient to 
make every statesman pause, and represented a solid phalanx 
"of whose support in emergency every administration in turn 
has experienced the value." 74 They put up a determined resis- 
tance to abolition, emancipation, and the abrogation of their 
monopoly. They were always on the warpath to oppose any in- 
crease of the duties on sugar, which Beckford once described 
as "a coup-de-grace to our sugar colonies and sugar trade." 75 
The West India interest was the enfant terrible of English 
politics until American Independence struck the first great blow 
at mercantilism and monopoly. 

In 1685 the governor of Jamaica protested that any additional 
duty proposed on sugar would discourage planting, throw new 
plantations out of cultivation and prevent the enlargement of 
others. By the proposal "Virginia receives a mortal stab, Barba- 
dos and the Islands fall into a hectic fever, and Jamaica into a 
consumption." 76 In 1744 the planters sent their case to every 
member of Parliament in an attempt to encourage popular 
clamor against another proposal to increase the sugar duties. 
The proposal was carried by a majority of twenty-three. "Nor 
was the smallness of it matter of surprize to those who con- 
sidered how many were either by themselves or their friends, 
deeply concerned in one part or another of the sugar trade, and 
that the cause itself was always popular in the House of Com- 
mons." 77 The West Indians, however, succeeded in transferring 


the extra duty proposed on sugar to foreign linens. The whole 
episode merely illustrated "the difficulties which attended the 
laying a further duty upon sugar from the number and in- 
fluence of those concerned directly or indirectly in that exten- 
sive branch of trade." 78 

The issue came up again when it was necessary to finance the 
Seven Years' War. The landed aristocrat of England was usually 
the supporter of his brother in the colonies, but when it came 
to choosing between himself and his distant relative he took the 
view that "his shirt was near him but his skin was nearer." 
Beckford, in defence of his fellows, was interrupted by horse- 
laughs every time he uttered the word "sugar." 79 The magic 
finger was writing. The agent for Massachusetts reported in 
1764 that there were fifty or sixty West Indian voters who 
could turn the balance any side they pleased. 80 It was the hey- 
day of the power of the West India sugar interest. But in the 
new century and in the Reformed Parliament there appeared 
another combination of fifty or sixty voters. It was the Lanca- 
shire cotton interest, and its slogan was not monopoly but 
laissez faire. 

5 . 



BRITAIN WAS ACCUMULATING great wealth from the triangular 
trade. The increase of consumption goods called forth by that 
trade inevitably drew in its train the development of the pro- 
ductive power of the country. This industrial expansion re- 
quired finance. What man in the first three-quarters of the 
eighteenth century was better able to afford the ready capital 
than a West Indian sugar planter or a Liverpool slave trader? 
We have already noticed the readiness with which absentee 
planters purchased land in England, where they were able to 
use their wealth to finance the great developments associated 
with the Agricultural Revolution. We must now trace the 
investment of profits from the triangular trade in British in- 
dustry, where they supplied part of the huge outlay for the 
construction of the vast plants to meet the needs of the new 
productive process and the new markets. 


i. Banking 

Many of the eighteenth century banks established in Liver- 
pool and Manchester, the slaving metropolis and the cotton 


capital respectively, were directly associated with the triangular 
trade. Here large sums were needed for the cotton factories and 
for the canals which improved the means of communication 
between the two towns. 

Typical of the eighteenth century banker is the transition 
from tradesman to merchant and then the further progression 
from merchant to banker. The term "merchant," in the eight- 
eenth century context, not infrequently involved the gradations 
of slaver captain, privateer captain, privateer owner, before 
settling down on shore to the respectable business of commerce. 
The varied activities of a Liverpool businessman include: 
brewer, liquor merchant, grocer, spirit dealer, bill-broker, 
banker, etc. Writes the historian: "One wonders what was 
covered by that 'etc.'" 1 Like the song, the sirens sang, that 
"etc." is not beyond all conjecture. It included, at some time 
or other, some one or more aspects of the triangular trade. 

The Heywood Bank was founded in Liverpool in 1773 and 
endured as a private bank until 1883, when it was purchased by 
the Bank of Liverpool. Its founders were successful merchants 
later elected to the Chamber of Commerce. "They had their 
experience," the historian writes, "of the African trade," besides 
privateering. Both appear in the list of merchants trading to 
Africa in 1752 and their African interests survived up to 1807. 
The senior partner of one of the branches of the firm was 
Thomas Parke, of the banking firm of William Gregson, Sons, 
Parke and Morland, whose grandfather was a successful cap- 
tain in the West Indian trade. Typical of the commercial inter- 
relationships of the period, the daughter of one of the partners 
of the Heywoods later married Robertson, son of John Glad- 
stone, and their son, Robertson Gladstone, obtained a partner- 
ship in the bank. In 1788 the firm set up a branch in Manches- 
ter, at the suggestion of some of the town's leading merchants. 
The Manchester branch, called the "Manchester Bank," was 
well known for many years. Eleven of fourteen Heywood 
descendants up to 1815 became merchants or bankers. 2 

The emergence of Thomas Leyland on the banking scene 
was delayed until the early years of the nineteenth century, 
but his investments in the African slave trade dated back to the 


last quarter of the eighteenth. Leyland, with his partners, was 
one of the most active slave traders in Liverpool and his profits 
were immense. In 1802 he became senior partner in the bank- 
ing firm of Clarkes and Roscoe. Leyland and Roscoe: curious 
combination! Strange union of the successful slaver and the 
consistent opponent of slavery! Leyland struck off on his own 
in 1807, in a more consistent partnership with his slave partner 
Bullins, and the title of Leyland and Bullins was borne proudly 
and unsmirched for ninety-four years until the amalgamation of 
the bank, in 1901, with the North and South Wales Bank 
Limited. 3 

The Heywoods and Leylands are only the outstanding ex- 
amples of the general rule in the banking history of eighteenth 
century Liverpool. William Gregson, banker, was also slave 
trader, shipowner, privateer, underwriter, and owner of a rope- 
walk. Francis Ingram was a slave trader, member of the African 
Company in 1777, while he also had a share in a ropery busi- 
ness, and embarked on a privateering enterprise in partnership 
with Thomas Leyland and the Earles. The latter themselves 
had amassed a huge fortune in the slave trade, and remained 
slave traders right up to 1807. The founder of Hanly's bank 
was Captain Richard Hanly, slave trader, whose sister was her- 
self married to a slave trader. Hanly was a prominent member 
of the "Liverpool Fireside," a society composed almost en- 
tirely of captains of vessels, slavers, and privateers, with a 
sprinkling of superior tradesmen. Robert Fairweather, like 
Hanly, was slave trader, member of the Liverpool Fireside, 
merchant and banker. 

Jonas Bold combined both slave and West Indian trades. One 
of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa from 1777 up 
to 1807, Bold was a sugar refiner, and became a partner in 
Ingram's bank. Thomas Fletcher began his career as apprentice 
to a merchant banker who carried on an extensive trade with 
Jamaica. Raised to a partnership, Fletcher later became suc- 
cessively Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the Liverpool West 
India Association, and at his death his assets included interests 
in mortgages on a coffee and sugar plantation, with the slaves 
thereon, in Jamaica. Charles Caldwell, of the banking firm of 


Charles Caldwell and Co., was a partner in Oldham, Caldwell, 
and Co., whose transactions were principally in sugar. Isaac 
Hartman, another banker, owned West Indian plantations; 
while James Moss, banker and prominent citizen in the eight- 
eenth century, had some very large sugar plantations in British 
Guiana. 4 

What has been said of Liverpool is equally true of Bristol, 
London and Glasgow. Presiding over the meeting of the in- 
fluential committee set up in Bristol in 1789 to oppose abolition 
was William Miles. Among the members of the committee were 
Alderman Daubeny, Richard Bright, Richard Vaughan, John 
Cave and Philip Protheroe. All six were bankers in Bristol. Cave, 
Bright and Daubeny were partners in the "New Bank" es- 
tablished in 1786. Protheroe was partner in the Bristol City 
Bank. William Miles bought a leading partnership in the old 
banking house of Vaughan, Barker and Company; two of his 
sons were mentioned in 1794, and "Miles's Bank," as it was 
popularly called, had a lengthy and prosperous career. 5 

For London only one name need be mentioned, when that 
name is Barclay. Two members of this Quaker family, David 
and Alexander, were engaged in the slave trade in 1756. David 
began his career in American and West Indian commerce and 
became one of the most influential merchants of his day. His 
father's house in Cheapside was one of the finest in the city 
of London, and was often visited by royalty. He was not 
merely a slave trader but actually owned a great plantation in 
Jamaica where, we are told, he freed his slaves, and lived to find 
that "the black skin enclosed hearts full of gratitude and minds 
as capable of improvement as the proudest white." The Bar- 
clays married into the banking families of Gurney and Freame, 
like so many other intermarriages in other branches of indus- 
try which kept Quaker wealth in Quaker hands. From the 
combination sprang Barclay's Bank whose expansion and prog- 
ress are beyond the scope of this study. 6 

The rise of banking in Glasgow was intimately connected 
with the triangular trade. The first regular bank began busi- 
ness in 1750. Known as the Ship Bank, one of the original 
partners was Andrew Buchanan, a tobacco lord of the city. 


Another was the same William Macdowall whose meeting with 
the sugar heiresses of St. Kitts had established both the fortunes 
of his house and those of the city. A third was Alexander 
Houston, one of the greatest West Indian merchants of the 
city, whose firm, Alexander Houston and Company, was one 
of the leading West Indian houses in the kingdom. This firm it- 
self only grew out of the return of the two Scotch officers and 
their island brides to the city. For three-quarters of the cen- 
tury the firm carried on an immense trade, owning many ships 
and vast sugar plantations. Anticipating the abolition of the 
slave trade, it speculated on a grand scale in the purchase of 
slaves. The bill, however, failed to pass. The slaves had to be 
fed and clothed, their price fell heavily, disease carried them 
off by the hundreds. The firm consequently crashed in 1795, 
and this was the greatest financial disaster Glasgow had ever 

The success of the Ship Bank stimulated the formation of 
other banks. The Arms Bank was founded in the same year, 
with one of the leading partners Andrew Cochrane, another 
tobacco lord. The Thistle Bank followed in 1761, an aristo- 
cratic bank, whose business lay largely among the rich West 
Indian merchants. One of the chief partners was John Glass- 
ford, who carried on business on a large scale. At one time he 
owned twenty-five ships and their cargoes on the sea, and his 
annual turnover was more than half a million sterling, 7 

2. Heavy Industry 

Heavy industry played an important role in the progress of 
the Industrial Revolution and the development of the triangu- 
lar trade. Some of the capital which financed the growth of 
the metallurgical industries was supplied directly by the tri- 
angular trade. 

It was the capital accumulated from the West Indian trade 
that financed James Watt and the steam engine. Boulton and 
Watt received advances from Lowe, Vere, Williams and 
Jennings later the Williams Deacons Bank. Watt had some 
anxious moments in 1778 during the American Revolution 
when the West Indian fleet was threatened with capture by 


the French. "Even in this emergency," wrote Boulton to him 
hopefully, "Lowe, Vere and Company may yet be saved, if ye 
West Indian fleet arrives safe from ye French fleet ... as many 
of their securities depend on it." 8 

The bank pulled through and the precious invention was 
safe. The sugar planters were among the first to realize its im- 
portance. Boulton wrote to Watt in 1783: "... Mr. Pennant, 
who is a very amiable man, with ten or twelve thousand pounds 
a year, has the largest estate in Jamaica; there was also Mr. 
Gale and Mr. Beeston Long, who have some very large sugar 
plantations there, who wish to see steam answer in lieu of 
horses." 9 

One of the leading ironmongers of the eighteenth century, 
Antony Bacon, was intimately connected with the triangular 
trade. His partner was Gilbert Francklyn, a West Indian 
planter, who later wrote many letters to the Lord President of 
the Committee of Privy Council emphasizing the importance 
of taking over the French sugar colony of Saint Domingue in 
the war with revolutionary France. 10 Bacon, like so many 
others, ventured into the African trade. He began a lucrative 
commerce in first victualling troops on the coast and then sup- 
plying seasoned and able Negroes for government contracts in 
the West Indies. During the years 1768-1776 he received almost 
67,000 under this latter heading. In 1765 he set up his iron 
works at Merthyr Tydfill which expanded rapidly owing to 
government contracts during the American war; in 1776 he 
set up another furnace at Cyfartha. The iron ore for his fur- 
naces was exported from Whitehaven, and as early as 1740 
Bacon took a part in improving its harbor. 

Bacon made a fortune out of his artillery contracts with the 
British government. He retired in 1782 having acquired a 
veritable mineral kingdom. His ironworks at Cyfartha he leased 
to Crawshay, reserving for himself a clear annuity of 10,000, 
and out of Cyfartha Crawshay himself made a fortune. He 
sold Penydaren to Homfray, the man who perfected the 
puddling process; Dowlais went to Lewis and the Plymouth 
works to Hill. The ordinance contract had already been trans- 
ferred to Carron, Roebuck's successor. No wonder that it was 


stated that Bacon considered himself as "moving in a superior 
orbit." 11 

William Beckford became a master ironmonger in iy53. 12 
Part of the capital supplied for the Thorncliffe ironworks, be- 
gun in 1792, came from a razor-maker, Henry Longden, who 
received a bequest of some fifteen thousand pounds from a 
wealthy uncle, a West Indian merchant of Sheffield. 13 

3. Insurance 

In the eighteenth century, when the slave trade was the most 
valuable trade and West Indian property among the most val- 
uable property in the British Empire, the triangular trade oc- 
cupied an important position in the eyes of the rising insurance 
companies. In the early years, when Lloyd's was a coffee house 
and nothing more, many advertisements in the London Gazette 
about runaway slaves listed Lloyd's as the place where they 
should be returned. 14 

The earliest extant advertisement referring to Lloyd's, dated 
1692, deals with the sale of three ships by auction. The ships 
were cleared for Barbados and Virginia. The only project 
listed at Lloyd's in the bubbles of 1720 concerned trade to Bar- 
bary and Africa. Relton, the historian of fire insurance, states 
that insurance against fires in the West Indies had been done at 
Lloyd's "from a very early date." Lloyd's, like other insurance 
companies, insured slaves and slave ships, and was vitally in- 
terested in legal decisions as to what constituted "natural death" 
and "perils of the sea." Among their subscriptions to public 
heroes and merchant captains is one of 1804 to a Liverpool 
captain who, on passage from Africa to British Guiana, suc- 
cessfully beat off a French corvette and saved his valuable 
cargo. The third son of their first secretary, John Bennett, was 
agent for Lloyd's in Antigua in 1833, and the only known por- 
trait of his father was recently discovered in the West Indies. 
One of the most distinguished chairmen of Lloyd's in its long 
history was Joseph Marryat, a West Indian planter, who suc- 
cessfully and brilliantly fought to maintain Lloyd's monopoly 
of marine insurance' against a rival company in the House of 
Commons in 1810, where he was opposed by another West 


Indian, father of the famous Cardinal Manning. 15 Marryat was 
awarded 15,000 compensation in 1837 for 391 slaves in Trini- 
dad and Jamaica. 16 

In 1782 the West Indian sugar interest took the lead in start- 
ing another insurance company, the Phoenix, one of the first 
companies to establish a branch overseas in the West Indies. 17 
The Liverpool Underwriters' Association was formed in 1802. 
Chairman of the meeting was the prominent West Indian mer- 
chant, John Gladstone. 18 

TO 1783 

Thus it was that the Abbe Raynal, one of the most progres- 
sive spirits of his day, a man of wide learning in close touch 
with the French bourgeoisie, was able to see that the labors of 
the people in the West Indies "may be considered as the princi- 
pal cause of the rapid motion which now agitates the uni- 
verse." 19 The triangular trade made an enormous contribution 
to Britain's industrial development. The profits from this trade 
fertilized the entire productive system of the country. Three 
instances must suffice. The slate industry in Wales, which pro- 
vided material for roofing, was revolutionized by the new 
methods adopted on his Carnarvonshire estate by Lord Pen- 
rhyn, 20 who, as we have seen, ow L ned sugar plantations in 
Jamaica and was chairman of the West India Committee at the 
end of the eighteenth century. The leading figure in the first 
great railway project in England, which linked Liverpool and 
Manchester, was Joseph Sandars, of whom little is known. But 
his withdrawal in 1824 from the Liverpool Anti-Slavery So- 
ciety is of great importance, as at least showing a reluctance to 
press the sugar planters. 21 Three other men prominently identi- 
fied with the undertaking had close connections with the 
triangular trade General Gascoyne of Liverpool, a stalwart 
champion of the West India interest, John Gladstone and John 
Moss. 22 The Bristol West India interest also played a prominent 
part in the construction of the Great Western Railway. 23 

But it must not be inferred that the triangular trade was 


solely and entirely responsible for the economic development. 
The growth of the internal market in England, the plough- 
ing-in of the profits from industry to generate still further 
capital and achieve still greater expansion, played a large part. 
But this industrial development, stimulated by mercantilism, 
later outgrew mercantilism and destroyed it. 

In 1783 the shape of things to come was clearly visible. The 
steam engine's potentialities were not an academic question. 
Sixty-six engines were in operation, two-thirds of these in mines 
and foundries. 24 Improved methods of coal mining, combined 
with the influence of steam, resulted in a great expansion of the 
iron industry. Production increased four times between 1740 
and 1788, the number of furnaces rose by one-half. 25 The iron 
bridge and the iron railroad had appeared; the Carron Works 
had been founded; and Wilkinson was already famous as "the 
father of the iron trade." Cotton, the queen of the Industrial 
Revolution, responded readily to the new inventions, unhamp- 
ered as it was by the traditions and guild restrictions which im- 
peded its older rival, wool. Laissez faire became a practice in 
the new industry long before it penetrated the text books as 
orthodox economic theory. The spinning jenny, the water 
frame, the mule, revolutionized the industry, which, as a result, 
showed a continuous upward trend. Between 1700 and 1780 
imports of raw cotton increased more than three times, exports 
of cotton goods fifteen times. 26 The population of Manchester 
increased by nearly one-half between 1757 and I773, 27 the 
numbers engaged in the cotton industry quadrupled between 
1750 and I785. 28 Not only heavy industry, cotton, too the 
two industries that were to dominate the period 1783-1850 
was gathering strength for the assault on the system of monop- 
oly which had for so long been deemed essential to the existence 
and prosperity of both. 

The entire economy of England was stimulated by this 
beneficent breath of increased production. The output of the 
Staffordshire potteries increased fivefold in value between 1725 
and I777- 29 The tonnage of shipping leaving English ports more 
than doubled between 1700. and 1781. English imports in- 
creased fourfold between 1715 and 1775, exports trebled be- 


tween 1700 and lyyi. 30 English industry in 1783 was like Gul- 
liver, tied down by the Lilliputian restrictions of mercantilism. 

Two outstanding figures of the eighteenth century saw and, 
what was more, appreciated the irrepressible conflict: Adam 
Smith from his professorial chair, Thomas Jefferson on his 

Adam Smith denounced the folly and injustice which had 
first directed the project of establishing colonies in the New 
World. He opposed the whole system of monopoly, the key- 
stone of the colonial arch, on the ground that it restricted the 
productive power of England as well as the colonies. If British 
industry had advanced, it had done so not because of the 
monopoly but in spite of it, and the monopoly represented 
nothing but the sacrifice of the general good to the interests 
of a few, the sacrifice of the interest of the home consumer to 
that of the colonial producer. In the colonies themselves the 
ban on colonial manufactures seemed to him "a manifest viola- 
tion of the most sacred rights of mankind . . . impertinent 
badges of slavery imposed upon them, without any sufficient 
reason, by the groundless jealousy of the merchants and 
manufacturers of the mother country." British capital had been 
forced from trade with neighboring countries to trade with 
more distant countries; money that could have been used to 
improve the lands, increase the manufactures, and extend the 
commerce of Great Britain had been expended in fostering a 
trade with distant areas from which Britain derived nothing 
but loss (!) and frequent wars. It was a fit system for a na- 
tion whose government was influenced by shopkeepers. 31 

The Wealth of Nations was the philosophical antecedent of 
the American Revolution. Both were twin products of the same 
cause, the brake applied by the mercantile system on the de- 
velopment of the productive power of England and her 
colonies. Adam Smith's role was to berate intellectually "the 
mean and malignant expedients" 32 of a system which the armies 
of George Washington dealt a mortal wound on the battle- 
fields of America. 



IN 1770 the continental colonies sent to the West Indies nearly 
one-third of their exports of dried fish and almost all their 
pickled fish; seven-eighths of their oats, seven-tenths of their 
corn, almost all their peas and beans, half of their flour, all 
their butter and cheese, over one-quarter of their rice, almost 
all their onions; five-sixths of their pine, oak and cedar boards, 
over half their staves, nearly all their hoops; all their horses, 
sheep, hogs and poultry; almost all their soap and candles. 1 As 
Professor Pitman has told us, "It was the wealth accumulated 
from West Indian trade which more than anything else under- 
lay the prosperity and civilization of New England and the 
Middle Colonies." 2 

But in the imperial scheme of the eighteenth century the 
mainland colonies ran a bad second. Sugar was king, and the 
West Indian islands the sugar bowl of Europe. The acquisition 
of Jamaica made Cromwell so happy that he refused to trans- 
act any further business on the day when the glad tidings was 
announced. He would have taken a week's holiday if he had 
captured Hispaniola, the French part of which, Saint Domingue, 
later became the pearl of the Antilles and the bane of the 
British planters. Barbados was the "fair Jewell" of His Majesty's 
Crown, a little pearl more precious and rare than any the kings 
of Europe possessed, 3 and in 1661 Charles II showed its impor- 
tance by creating thirteen baronets among its planters in a single 
day. 4 The governorship of Jamaica ranked next in colonial ap- 
pointments to the lord-lieutenancy of Ireland, and the postal 


system made better provision for the islands than for the main- 

Mercantilists looked askance at the northern colonies in 
particular. They were full of farmers, merchants, fishermen, 
seamen but no planters. They were, with the exception of 
their yet undeveloped manufactures, in a very literal sense 
New England. 5 Rivalry with Old England was inevitable. They 
competed with the home country in the fisheries, which be- 
came a nursery for the seamen of New England. In their agri- 
cultural products they were enabled, by virtue of their situa- 
tion, to undersell their English rivals in island markets. By this 
competition England was losing, in sales and freights, two and 
a half millions sterling a year. "Can any one think from hence," 
asked an anonymous writer, "that the trade and navigation of 
our colonies are worth one groat to this nation?" 6 Sir Josiah 
Child pointed out that ten men in Massachusetts did not pro- 
vide employment for a single Englishman at home. "New Eng- 
land," he concluded, "is the most prejudicial plantation to this 
kingdom." 7 Chichester would have preferred to labor with his 
hands in Ireland than "dance and sing in Virginia." 8 Petty said 
bluntly that the inhabitants of New England should be re- 
patriated or sent to Ireland. 9 Four separate efforts were made 
to persuade the New Englanders to remove to the Bahamas, 
to Trinidad, to Maryland, and to Virginia. Cromwell looked 
on New England "only with an eye of pity, as poor, cold and 
useless." 10 Orders of the Council of State were sent in 1655 to 
the governors and inhabitants holding out tempting offers to 
go to Jamaica "to enlighten those parts ... by people who 
know and fear the Lord; that those of New England, driven 
from the land of their nativity into that desert and barren 
wilderness, for conscience* sake may remove to a land of 
plenty." 11 

These views were too extreme. If the Northern colonies were 
squeezed out of the provisions trade, they would be unable to 
pay for British manufactures, the export of which was more 
valuable to England than the export of agricultural commodi- 
ties and salted meat. What was much worse, the colonists might 
thereby be tempted to develop their own industries. Better 


then, Davenant concluded, that they should have the food 
trade. 12 

For the West Indian colonies needed food. If they were to 
concentrate on the sugar to which the economic specialization 
of the mercantile epoch confined them, they had no back coun- 
try where staples could not be raised, and their cash crop was 
too profitable for them to afford the luxury of diverting land 
and labor to cattle grazing and food crops. "Men are so intent 
upon planting sugar," a correspondent wrote to Governor 
Winthrop in 1647 about the West Indies, "that they had rather 
buy foode at very deare rates than produce it by labour, so in- 
finite is the profitt of sugar workes after once accomplished." 13 
The tradition was thereby established by which sugar became 
"the wheat or bread" of the West Indies. 14 Only the possession 
of the mainland colonies permitted this sugar monopoly of the 
West Indian soil. "To subsist a colony in America," wrote the 
Abbe Raynal, "it is necessary to cultivate a province in 
Europe." 15 Britain voluntarily abdicated this privilege, as the 
lesser of two evils, to the mainland colonists. Mercantilism was 
ultimately destroyed as a bad system, but it is absurd not to 
recognize that it was a system, and that there was method in 
its badness. 

Thus did the North American colonies come to have a 
recognized place in imperial economy, as purveyors of the 
supplies needed by the sugar planters and their slaves, and the 
New Englanders came to be regarded as the Dutchmen of 
America. The mixed husbandry of the Northern and Middle 
colonies supplemented the specialized agriculture of the West 
Indies, as in the nineteenth century it fed the cotton and rice 
regions of the American South. As early as 1650 the New Eng- 
land colonies were feeding their "elder sisters," Virginia and 
Barbados. 16 Winthrop assigned the credit to Providence, 17 but 
mercantilism had much to do with the arrangement. "His 
ma tya collonys in these parts," wrote Governor Willoughby of 
Barbados in 1667, "cannot in tyme of peace prosper, nor in 
tyme of war subsist, without a correspondence with the people 
of Newe England." 18 Not only food, but horses to supply the 
motive power of the tread-mills used in sugar manufacture, and 


lumber for buildings, were the articles most in demand in the 
islands. "There is no island the Brittish possess in the West 
Indies," wrote Samuel Vetch in 1708, "that is capable of sub- 
sisting without the assistance of the Continent, for to them we 
transport their bread, drink and all the necessaryes of humane 
life, their cattle and horses for cultivating their plantations, 
lumber and staves of all sorts to make casks for their rumm, 
sugar and molasses, without which they could have none, ships 
to transport their goods to the European markets, nay, in 
short, the very houses they inhabitt are carryed over in frames, 
together with shingles that cover them, in so much that their 
being, much more their well being, depends almost entirely 
upon the Continent." 19 The West Indian planters entertained 
no illusions about the importance of mainland provisions and 
horses. The Barbadians, wrote a Boston factor in 1674, are 
"all sensable of the greate prejudis which will accrue to them 
yf they loose the benefitt of those two commodyties, which 
are vendable in noe part of y e world but New England and 
Virginia." 20 

This was deliberate policy on the part of statesmen in Eng- 
land and the planters in the colonies. Many of the articles ex- 
ported by New England to the islands could have been pro- 
duced in the islands themselves. But, as a Jamaican planter 
asked, "If this island were able to maintain itself with diet and 
other necessaries what would become of the New England 
trade?" 21 The answer is that without the sugar islands the main- 
land colonies would have received a serious setback. They be- 
came "the key to the Indies," 22 without which the islands 
would have been unable to feed themselves except by a diver- 
sion of profitable sugar land to food crops, to the detriment 
not only of New England farmers but British shipping, British 
sugar refining, and the customs revenue, glory and grandeur 
of England. In 1698 Parliament rejected a proposal to prohibit 
the export of corn, meal, flour, bread and biscuit from England 
to the sugar islands. The prohibition "may put the inhabitants 
there upon planting provisions themselves, instead of sugar- 
canes, cptton, ginger, and indico; which will be greatly prejudi- 
cial to England, in respect of its navigation and riches." 28 


Economic relations between islands and mainland were 
strengthened by individual contacts. West Indians owned prop- 
erty on the mainland, North Americans owned plantations in 
the islands. South Carolina was settled from Barbados. The 
Middletons, Bulls and Colletons of South Carolina owned 
plantations in Jamaica and Barbados. Aaron Lopez, Rhode Is- 
land slave trader, was owner of a sugar plantation in Antigua. 
Alexander Hamilton was born in Nevis. The Gedney Clarkes 
of Salem are the outstanding example of North American suc- 
cess in the islands. The father owned extensive plantations in 
Barbados and Guiana. His son became surveyor general of 
customs in Barbados, member of the House of Assembly and 
subsequently of the Council. North Americans soon discovered 
the value of West Indian sunshine, West Indians sought in 
North America the recovery of broken constitutions. "I would 
advise Adam Chart," wrote an American to friends in Phila- 
delphia, "to begin another house directly and call it the Bar- 
bados Hotel, putting up for a sign, the worn-out West Indian, 
dying of a dropsy from intemperate living." West Indian 
heiresses, it is said, were as desirable in North America as they 
were in England. 24 

In exchange for their provisions the mainland colonists took 
West Indian sugar, rum and molasses, in such quantities that 
as early as 1676 the English merchants complained that New 
England was becoming the great mart and staple of colonial 
produce. 25 It was a mutual interdependence between the two 
units. The maintenance of harmony imperatively demanded 
two things: island production of sugar and molasses must be 
sufficient to satisfy mainland consumption; island consumption 
of mainland staples must keep pace with mainland production. 

At best this would have been difficult, because of the relative 
size of the two interdependent areas. But the impending con- 
flict could have been postponed in one of two ways or both. 
In the first place the British sugar planter could have extended 
his cultivation. More land would have required more slaves 
who would have produced more sugar and called for greater 
supplies of food. Jamaica could have done this more easily 
than Barbados, which in the eighteenth century was already 


suffering from the inevitable consequences of slave labor and 
quick extraction of profit from the soil. There was fresh land 
in abundance in Jamaica. The second remedy was the acquisi- 
tion of more sugar colonies. This would have appeased, par- 
tially, the legitimate grievances of the mainland. But these, the 
only possible solutions without resort to force, the British sugar 
planters resolutely opposed. The cultivation of fresh lands and 
the acquisition of more sugar colonies meant a greater supply 
of sugar in the British market and a consequent reduction of 
price. The Barbadians had very early in their history looked 
apprehensively at the extension of British sugar conquests. They 
opposed British settlement of Surinam; 26 they resented the drain 
of their white servants to the Leeward Islands, and when asked 
by the governor of Jamaica to contribute to an expedition to 
put down piracy in the Leeward Islands, they replied that they 
would not spend twenty shillings to ^save the Leeward Islands 
and Jamaica. 27 In 1772 it was proposed in Parliament that ade- 
quate security be offered to foreigners willing to advance 
money for the development of the sugar islands annexed after 
the Seven Years' War. The proposal was warmly opposed, as 
an "impolitic innovation," by the West Indian planters. 28 It was 
the old division, in x the words of Professor Namier, between 
"saturated planters" and "planters on the make." 29 

The foreign sugar islands, too, were already illustrating the 
law of slave production. Less exhausted than the longer-settled 
English islands, cultivation in the French islands was easier and 
the cost of production less. As early as 1663, a mere twenty 
years after the rise of the sugar industry, Barbados was "decay- 
ing fast," 30 and the complaints of soil exhaustion grew more 
numerous and more plaintive. In 1717 Barbados, according to 
a representation to the Board of Trade, needed five times the 
number of Negroes and many more head of cattle and horses 
than the French islands to cultivate a given acreage; one slave 
in French Saint Domingue was equivalent to four in Jamaica. 31 
In 1737 the Barbadian owner of a plantation of one thousand 
acres, which required a capital investment of fifty thousand 
pounds, was making a profit of two per cent; a similar planta- 
tion in the French islands cost one-sixth as much, and yielded 


a profit of eighteen per cent. 32 There was some exaggeration 
in these figures, but the fundamental superiority of the French 
sugar planter, as a result of large tracts of fertile, unexhausted 
soil, was notorious. French sugar was invading the European 
markets and selling at half the price it was sold at in England. 33 
Acquisition of such islands would have meant the eclipse of 
the older British planters. The latter, therefore, demanded their 
destruction rather than their acquisition. The governor of 
Jamaica wrote in 1748 that unless French Saint Domingue was 
destroyed during the war, it would, on the return of peace, 
ruin the British sugar colonies by the quality and cheapness 
of its production. 34 During the Seven Years' War, Britain cap- 
tured Cuba from Spain and Guadeloupe from France. Both 
islands were restored to their owners in 1763, Britain taking in 
return Florida and Canada. 

To rationalize this decision in the light of the importance 
of the different areas today misses the whole point. Cuba was 
still an ugly duckling in 1763, but any fool could have guessed 
what a beautiful swan it would eventually turn out to be. 
There was no excuse where Guadeloupe was concerned. The 
"few acres of snow," as Voltaire derisively described Canada, 
could boast only of furs; Guadeloupe had sugar. "What does 
a few hats signify," asked a shrewd anonymous writer in 1763, 
"compared with that article of luxury, sugar?" He pointed 
out, too, that the way to keep North America dependent was 
to leave the French in Canada. 35 

It is inconceivable that the British ministry of the day was 
ignorant of what was public knowledge, in England, France 
and America. Between 1759 and 1762 British imports from 
"Quebec" totalled 48,000, exports to Quebec 426,400. British 
imports from Guadeloupe amounted to 2,004,933 between 
1759 and 1765, exports to Guadeloupe to 475,237. British im- 
ports from Havana were 263,084 between 1762 and 1766, 
exports to Havana 123,421. Compare Canada and Florida with 
Grenada and Dominica, two of the West Indian conquests that 
were retained in 1763. Up to 1773 British imports from Grenada 
amounted to eight times the imports from Canada, British ex- 
ports to Canada were double those to Grenada. Imports from 


Dominica were more than eighteen times the imports from 
Florida; exports to Dominica were only one-seventh less than 
those to Florida. 36 Clearly Canada and Florida were retained 
not because they were more valuable than Cuba or Guadeloupe, 
but precisely because they were less valuable. 

Thus the peace treaty of 1763 simply makes no sense unless 
it is regarded as another victory for the powerful West India 
interest. It proved ultimately to be a Pyrrhic victory, but in 
1763 it was none the less a victory. The two most strenuous 
advocates of the return of Guadeloupe were two West Indian 
planters, Beckford and Fuller, 37 and Beckford's influence with 
Chatham was notorious. "Thus Guadeloupe, one of the greatest 
acquisitions Britain ever made, acquires many powerful enemies 
from private views, and has nothing to plead but her public 
utility an advantage often found too feeble an opponent to the 
private interest of a few." 38 The West Indians had two aims 
in view. They wished to prevent the French from making 
Canada a North America, a source of supplies for their sugar 
colonies a baseless fear, as the British sugar planter realized 
after 1783 when Canada proved a poor substitute for the lost 
Northern colonies; and, more important, they were determined 
to keep a dreaded rival out of the British sugar market. So 
Chatham conquered in the islands to annex on the continent, 
conquered sugar to annex furs. The question aroused great 
controversy in England, and Chatham once asked whether 
he should be hanged for returning Canada or returning Guade- 
loupe. 39 If there was any hanging to be done, Beckford had 
the best claim. 

It all amounted to this the whole empire was to be brow- 
beaten into paying tribute to the sugar planters and accepting 
sugar at a monopoly price because it was British grown. The 
mainland colonists turned naturally, if unpatriotically, to the 
foreign sugar colonies. "Forgetting all ties of duty to his 
Majesty," so ran a petition of London merchants in 1750, "the 
interest of their mother-country, and the reverence due to its 
laws," 40 the mainland colonists saw only that increased trade 
was demanded by their increased production. If they could not 
trade with foreign sugar colonies become British, they would 


trade with those colonies outside the imperial framework 
even in wartime. Their existence was at stake. The tug-of-war 
between islands and mainland had begun, and thereafter the 
West Indians and North Americans were always "jarring." 41 

Naturally the mainland colonist did not boycott the British 
sugar islands. It would have been cutting off his own nose to 
spite the sugar planter's face. Instead the mainland continued to 
supply the British islands. But in return they insisted on cash, 
which drained the islands of specie and raised the specter of 
inflation. In 1753 the total value of the trade between Northern 
colonies and Jamaica was estimated at 75,000 sterling. The 
Northern colonists took in return products to the value of 
25,000; the rest was carried away in cash. 42 With the cash 
they went to the French islands where they bought sugar at 
cheaper rates and the molasses which the French planter was 
not allowed to distil into rum because it would compete with 
French brandies. The British sugar planters lost a market for 
their sugar and rum. Their French rivals stole this market 
from them, while in addition they received the supplies they 
needed to enable them to compete on more advantageous terms 
with the British. 

This complicated triangular trade of the mainland was a 
complete violation of the British imperial scheme. The sugar 
planters thought it reprehensible. The smallest sugar island, in 
their view, was ten times more valuable to England than New 
England. 43 It was a contest, they argued, not between colony 
and colony but between England and France for the control 
of he sugar trade. 44 

Strict mercantilists endorsed this view. The French govern- 
ment, it was alleged, not only connived at the trade, but en- 
couraged it, in order to depress the British sugar colonies. 45 
Postlethwayt called it a licentious and pernicious commerce, 
and was quick to see that it had "too much contributed to 
loosen the dependency of our colonies upon their mother- 
country, and have produced such connection of interests be- 
tween them and those of France, as have tended to alienate 
them from Great Britain, and to make it too indifferent to 
them whether they were under a French or a British govern- 


ment." 46 Chatham echoed Postlethwayt. It was "an illegal and 
most pernicious trade . . . flagitious practices, so utterly sub- 
versive of all laws, and so highly repugnant to the well-being 
of this kingdom." 47 It is not clear, however, why this American 
trade should have been singled out for condemnation. It was 
no different from the trade carried on from Jamaica with the 
Spanish colonies, by which much Spanish colonial sugar was 
smuggled into England as British colonial produce. The North 
American policy of supplying the French planters with pro- 
visions was at least no more reprehensible than the British 
policy of supplying them with slaves. 

The mainland colonists countered that "the one great end 
always aimed at by the sugar planters, (was) that they may 
raise what further prices they shall think fit upon their fellow- 
subjects, more especially those in North America, for the 
necessaries of life." 48 It was absurd for the planters to attempt 
to maintain monopoly prices in England when the laws of 
supply and demand were operating all over Europe to reduce 
the price of sugar in response to an increasing supply; it would 
be as sensible for them "to pray for an Act of Parliament to 
enable them to wash their blackamoors white." 49 These "over- 
grown West Indians" 50 who were pleading distress and throw- 
ing themselves on the mercy of Parliament were not poor and 
indigent. They were wealthy planters who wished to roll in 
their gilded equipages through the streets of London at the 
expense of the North Americans. 51 "What would we say to 
a man who should ask our charity in an embroider 'd coat?" 52 
If the interests of the mainland colonies as well as those of the 
English consumers were to be sacrificed to a handful of 
pampered sugar barons in tiny Barbados, then it would be 
better if that island were sunk in the sea. 53 "It appears to me," 
wrote John Dickinson, "no paradox to say that the public 
would be as great a gainer, if estates here (in the West Indies) 
were so moderate that not a tenth part of the West Indian 
gentlemen who now sit in the House of Commons could obtain 
that frequently expensive honour." 54 Pennsylvania produced 
a curious argument: the islands were less useful to England 
than the mainland; their slaves were naked, they had few white 


residents, the great heat of their climate destroyed a number 
of useful British sailors. 55 English exports, particularly woolen, 
would suffer considerably if the Northern colonies were in- 
jured. 56 The British West Indies could neither consume all the 
produce of New England nor provide supplies of molasses at 
sufficiently low rates for the Northern colonies. It was a dog- 
in-the-manger attitude, "to prevent their fellow-subjects re- 
ceiving from others what they themselves do not furnish." 57 
In 1763 all but three per cent of Massachusetts 7 imports of 
molasses came from the French West Indies; the British West 
Indies supplied barely one-tenth of the imports of Rhode Island 
and Massachusetts. The distilling business occupied an impor- 
tant position in colonial economy. Massachusetts had sixty dis- 
tilleries in 1763, Rhode Island thirty. In addition, it was only 
by this trade with the French West Indies that Rhode Island 
was able to make remittances to England of 40,000 a year. 
"Without this trade," the colony protested, "it would have 
been and always will be, utterly impossible for the inhabitants 
of this colony to subsist themselves, or to pay for any con- 
siderable quantity of British goods." 58 The more trade they 
had with the foreign colonies, pleaded Golden, the greater 
would be their consumption of British manufactures. 59 

If any argument could soften the mercantilist heart, that was 
the one. It was the plea of an important mercantilist, William 
Wood. Writing as early as 1718, he was prepared to permit 
the trade between the mainland and the foreign plantations in 
the West Indies. He argued that by this trade English manu- 
factures would be smuggled into the French islands; in return 
the North Americans might not get gold and silver, but they 
would get what was just as valuable, the products of those 
countries. "This may not perhaps be relished by our planters; 
but if they will not allow it to be for their interest in particular, 
I am sure they can't dispute its being for the interest of Great 
Britain in general. For by this means we render foreign colonies 
and plantations, to be in effect, the colonies and plantations of 
Great Britain." The trade would increase shipping and seamen; 
it would increase the supply of colonial produce for re-export 
by England. One condition only must be respected: in return 


for their supplies, the Americans must not take foreign manu- 
factures. 60 

This was a curious argument for a mercantilist and it antici- 
pated the policy of the nineteenth century in many respects. 
It would have antagonized the sugar planters, but it would 
have retained the allegiance of the mainland. But it was rank 
heresy against the mercantilist faith. The friends of the main- 
land pleaded instead for caution. They ought not, said Ogle- 
thorpe, "to encourage or raise one colony upon the destruction 
or detriment of another." 61 If the relief or encouragement 
asked for by the planters appeared to be an injury to the empire 
as a whole, or if it appeared that it would do more harm to 
other parts of the empire than good to the West Indies, the 
relief should be refused. 62 Sir John Barnard warned that not 
the whole army of excise officers could prevent the smuggling 
of a commodity essential to mainland prosperity. 63 Heathcote 
cautioned that to prohibit the trade would be to encourage the 
French to develop Canada. 64 

Parliament remained loyal to King Sugar and the West India 
interest. "It was laid down as a fundamentall that the Islands 
were the only usefull colonies we had and that the continent 
was rather a nusance." 65 The Molasses Act of 1733 was a 
triumph for the sugar planters. It prohibited American exports 
to the foreign islands, and imposed high duties on foreign sugar 
and molasses. It was, Pitman writes, "a challenge to the future 
progress of the whole region from Portland to Baltimore." 66 

It was one thing, however, to pass the Act, another thing to 
enforce it. As James Otis boasted, not even the King of Eng- 
land, encamped on Boston Common at the head of 20,000 men, 
could have enforced obedience to the Act. 67 Lawlessness was 
erected into a cardinal virtue of American economic practice, 
the customs officers made a lucrative job of shutting their eyes, 
or at least of opening them no further than their private in- 
terest required. As the Pennsylvania petition of 1751 put it, 
"every community may afford a few bad men." 68 The Sugar 
Duties Act of 1764 repeated the injunctions of the former 
measure; to discourage smuggling, however, the duties were 
lowered, but they were to be collected. The act caused, in the 


words of Governor Bernard, a greater alarm in America than 
did the capture of Fort William Henry in I757, 69 and it has been 
rightly said that it was a greater blow to rising colonial con- 
sciousness than the Stamp Act. The North Americans began 
to chafe under the inconvenience of being British subjects. The 
attempt to render the Act effective and stamp out smuggling 
led directly to the American Revolution. It was this that John 
Adams had in mind when he stated that he did not know why 
the Americans "should blush to confess that molasses was an 
essential ingredient in American independence." 70 

"When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary 
for one people to dissolve the political bands which have con- 
nected them with another. . . ." Jefferson wrote only part of 
the truth. It was economic, not political, bands that were being 
dissolved. A new age had begun. The year 1776 marked the 
Declaration of Independence and the publication of the Wealth 
of Nations. Far from accentuating the value of the sugar islands, 
American independence marked the beginning of their unin- 
terrupted decline, and it was a current saying at the time that 
the British ministry had lost not only thirteen colonies but 
eight islands as well. 

American independence destroyed the mercantile system and 
discredited the old regime. Coinciding with the early stages of 
the Industrial Revolution, it stimulated that growing feeling of 
disgust with the colonial system which Adam Smith was 
voicing and which rose to a veritable crescendo of denuncia- 
tion at the height of the free trade era. Reared in the same 
school as Adam Smith, Arthur Young, the champion of the 
agricultural revolution in England, drew important lessons from 
the American revolt and called the colonies nuisances. "That 
great lesson of modern politicks," he wrote with asperity, "the 
independancy of North America ought to enlarge the horizon 
of our commercial policy." It was not that the sugar islands 
were not of consequence; "they have been mischievously 
made of great consequence: but they are not of the importance 
their advocates falsely contend for." 71 

The sugar planters were fully aware of the implications of 


American secession. The Stamp Act was as unpopular with the 
merchants of the islands as it was on the mainland; the stamps 
were publicly burnt, to the accompaniment of shouts of 
liberty. 72 "God only knows," wrote Pinney from Nevis as 
soon as hostilities broke out, "what will become of us. We must 
either starve or be ruined." 73 It was worse. They did both. 
Fifteen thousand slaves died of famine in Jamaica alone be- 
tween 1780 and 1787, and American independence was the 
first stage in the decline of the sugar colonies. 

After the independence of the mainland was recognized, the 
economic interest of the sugar planters led them to make the 
revolutionary suggestion that the Navigation Law "must adapt 
itself to every material alteration of circumstances or its provi- 
sions will be no longer wise or salutary." 75 The Americans 
were equally alive to this interdependence. "The commerce of 
the West India Islands," wrote Adams, "is a part of the Amer- 
ican system of commerce. They can neither do without us, nor 
we without them. The Creator has placed us upon the globe 
in such a situation that we have occasion for each other." 76 In 
England Adam Smith and Pitt pleaded in vain that the old 
economic relations be allowed to continue. But, as Chalmers 
put it, a community of 72,000 masters and 400,000 slaves was 
too unimportant to permit the sacrifice of vital English in- 
terests. 77 "The Navigation Act," wrote Lord Sheffield, "the 
basis of our great power at sea, gave us the trade of the world. 
If we alter that Act, by permitting any state to trade with 
our islands ... we desert the Navigation Act, and sacrifice the 
marine of England." 78 Lord North's opinion embodied the 
quintessence of British imperialism: "The Americans had re- 
fused to trade with Great Britain, it was but just that they be not 
suffered to trade with any other nation." 79 

The Americans became foreigners, subject to all the provi- 
sions of the Navigation Laws, and the islands were deflected 
from their natural market in accordance with the world his- 
torical situation of that time. Nova Scotia would be made into 
another New England. But Nova Scotia could not be built up 
overnight, and nothing could compensate for the loss of Amer- 
ica. The demand for American products was not diminished by 


independence, only the supply was made more difficult. The 
West Indian islands begged for the creation of free ports, 80 
American supplies continued to penetrate the British islands 
by devious routes which resulted merely in increasing the 
prices to the British planter, while in time of war serious 
relaxations on the prohibition of American trade had to be 
permitted to relieve embarrassment and distress in the islands. 
In 1 796 American exports to the British West Indies were three 
times the figure for 1793; British exports declined by one-half. 81 
In 1 80 1 American exports to the West Indies were nearly five 
times what they were in 1792. Five-sixths of the exports in 1819 
came through Canada and the Swedish and Danish islands. 82 

Denied the British West Indian market, the Americans turned 
increasingly to the foreign islands, where the outbreak of war 
between England and France and the destruction of the 
French navy and marine made the United States the great 
carrier of French and Spanish produce. American transport of 
foreign West Indian produce to Europe increased from less 
than one million pounds of coffee and seventy-five thousand 
pounds of sugar in 1791 to forty-seven million pounds of 
coffee and one hundred and forty-five million pounds of sugar 
in 1 8o6. 83 Despite the wars at the end of the eighteenth century 
foreign plantation produce continued its competition with 
British in the markets of Europe. 

But the greatest disaster for the British sugar planters was 
that the revolt of America left them face to face with their 
French rivals. The superiority of the French sugar colonies 
was for the British planters the chief among the many ills which 
flew out of the Pandora's box that was the American Revolu- 
tion. Between 1783 and 1789 the progress of the French sugar 
islands, of Saint Domingue especially, was the most amazing 
phenomenon in colonial development. The fertility of the 
French soil was decisive. French sugar cost one-fifth less than 
British, the average yield in Saint Domingue and Jamaica was 
five to one. 84 During the years 1771 to 1781 the plantations of 
the Long family in Jamaica earned on an average a profit of nine 
and a half per cent, the profit in 1774 being as high as sixteen 
per cent. 86 In 1788 the net profit in Jamaica was four per cent 


as compared with an average of eight to twelve per cent in 
Saint Domingue. 86 In 1775 Jamaica had 775 plantations; by 
1791, out of every hundred twenty-three had been sold for 
debt, twelve were in the hands of receivers, while seven had 
been abandoned; 87 and the West Indian planters, indebted to 
the enormous sum of twenty millions, could be challenged "on 
any principle to prove that any new system would involve 
them so deep as that on which they had hitherto proceeded." 88 
Saint Domingue's exports in 1788 were double those of Jamaica; 
in 1789 they were valued at over one-third more than those of 
all the British West Indies combined. In the period of ten years 
before 1789 the Negro population and total production of 
Saint Domingue almost doubled. 89 All the English sugar colo- 
nies, boasted Hilliard d'Auberteuil, were not equal to French 
Saint Domingue; 90 and the British planters admitted that they 
could no longer continue to "retain in the European market 
that ascendancy which, we now fear, is irretrievably lost to 
Britain?' 91 French colonial exports, over eight million pounds, 
and imports, over four millions, employed 164,000 tons of 
shipping and 33,000 sailors; British colonial exports, five mil- 
lion pounds, and imports, less than two millions, employed 
148,000 tons of shipping and 14,000 seamen. 92 In every respect 
the sugar colonies had become vastly more essential to France 
than they were to England. 

The Caribbean ceased to be a British lake when the Amer- 
ican colonies won their independence. The center of gravity 
in the British Empire shifted from the Caribbean Sea to the 
Indian Ocean, from the West Indies to India. In 1783, momen- 
tous year, Prime Minister Pitt began to take an abnormally 
great interest in the British dominions in the East. 03 In 1787 
Wilberforce was encouraged by Pitt to sponsor the proposal 
for abolition of the slave trade. 94 In the same year the East India 
Company turned its attention to the cultivation of sugar in 
India, 95 and in 1789 a committee of the company formally 
recommended its cultivation to the court of directors. 96 

Prior to 1783 the British government was uniformly con- 
sistent in its policy towards the slave trade. The withdrawal of 
the thirteen colonies considerably diminished the number of 


slaves in the empire and made abolition easier than it would 
have been had the thirteen colonies been English when the 
cotton gin revivified a moribund slave economy in the South. 
"As long as America was our own," wrote Clarkson in 1788, 
"there was no chance that a minister would have attended to 
the groans of the sons and daughters of Africa, however he 
might feel for their distress. From the same spot, which was 
once thus the means of creating an insuperable impediment to 
the relief of these unfortunate people, our affection, by a 
wonderful concatenation of events, has been taken off and a 
prospect presented to our view, which shows it to be a policy 
to remove their pain." 97 

The old colonial system had been based on the idea that, 
without a monopoly of the colonial market, British manu- 
factures would not be sold. The other aspect of the monopolistic 
picture, the colonial monopoly of the home market, was based 
on the same assumption. The old colonial system, in other 
words, was a denial of the principle that trade will find its 
natural outlets. American independence exploded these fallacies. 
In July 1783 an Order in Council decreed free trade between 
Britain and the United States. British imports from the former 
colonies increased fifty per cent between 1784 and 1790; when 
the invention of the cotton gin entered the picture, British 
imports increased from nine million dollars in 1792 to nearly 
thirty-one million in i8oi. 98 "The commerce between the 
mother country and the colony," as Merivale put it in 1839, 
"was but a peddling traffic, compared to that vast international 
intercourse, the greatest the world has ever known, which grew 
up between them when they had exchanged the tie of subjec- 
tion for that of equality." 99 These facts impressed the capitalist 
class which was beginning to regard the Empire from the 
standpoint of profit and loss, and contributed to the success of 
Adam Smith's book in undermining the mercantilist philosophy. 
In 1825 Huskisson, the first of the free traders, asked pointedly 
"whether the disseverance of the United States from the British 
Empire, viewed as a mere question of commerce, has been an 
injury to this country? Whether their emancipation from the 
commercial thraldom of the colonial system has really been 


prejudicial to the trade and industry of Great Britain? ... Is 
there no useful admonition to be derived from this example?" 100 
There was, but Rip Van Winkle, drugged by the potion of 
mercantilism, had gone to sleep for a hundred years on his 
sugar plantation. 




regarded in England and the world at the time, American inde- 
pendence in reality marked the end of an outworn age and the 
emergence of a new. In this new age there was no room for 
the West Indian monopoly. We must now trace the expansion 
of the productive forces of England, stimulated and brought 
to the eve of maturity by the colonial system, and see how 
that colonial system in the new age acted as a brake which 
had to be removed. 

In June, 1783, the Prime Minister, Lord North, compli- 
mented the Quaker opponents of the slave trade on their 
humanity, but regretted that its abolition was an impossibility, 
as the trade had become necessary to almost every nation in 
Europe. 1 Slave traders and sugar planters rubbed their hands 
in glee. The West Indian colonies were still the darlings of the 
empire, the most precious jewels in the British diadem. 

But the rumblings of the inevitable storm were audible for 
those who had ears to hear. The year of Yorktown was the 
year of Watt's second patent, that for the rotary motion, which 
converted the steam engine into a source of motive power and 
made industrial England, in Matthew Boulton's phrase, "steam- 


BRITISH CAPITALISM, 1783-1833 127 

mill mad." 2 Rodney's victory over the French, which saved the 
sugar colonies, coincided with Watt's utilization of the expan- 
sive power of steam to obtain the double stroke for his pistons. 
The peace treaty of 1783 was being signed while Henry Cort 
was working on his puddling process which revolutionized the 
iron industry. The stage was set for that gigantic development 
of British capitalism which upset the political structure of the 
country in 1832 and thereby made possible the attack on 
monopoly in general and West Indian monopoly in particular. 

By 1833 no single British industry had achieved a complete 
technical revolution; the ancient types of organization survived 
everywhere, and not merely as fossils or curiosities. Wool was 
still given out to be spun, yarn to be woven, nail-rod to be 
made up into nails, leather to be returned as shoes. Looms were 
generally hand worked, wooden spinning jennies were legion, 
and the word "spinster" connoted a category based on produc- 
tion and not yet on matrimony. 3 

But if household production still survived, it had ceased to 
be typical. The early phase of the Industrial Revolution was 
tied up with water power, the later with steam power. The 
application of steam was, however, a gradual process. At the 
beginning of the nineteenth century its use in industry was 
neither universal nor extensive. The total number of engines 
in existence in the United Kingdom was 321, the total horse 
power amounted to 52io. 4 According to Clapham, writing in 
the twenties, the total horse power of Glasgow and the Clyde 
in 1831 would have driven one modern cruiser. 5 But, in Man- 
toux's words, "there was more difference between a spinning 
mill and a domestic workshop as they existed side by side be- 
tween 1780 and 1800, than between a factory of that date and 
a modern one." 6 

The cotton industry was the capitalist industry par excel- 
lence. A calculation in 1835 gave an average employment figure 
of 175 for all cotton mills, 125 for silk, 93 for linen, 44 for 
wool. The size of the average cotton mill was something un- 
precedented in British economic history. Forty-three important 
mills in Manchester had an average labor force of 300 in 1815; 


in 1832 the figure had risen to 40 1. 7 The first steam spinning 
mill was set up in England in 1785, the first in Manchester in 
1789. Between 1785 and 1800, eighty-two steam engines were 
constructed for cotton mills, fifty-five of these in Lancashire 
alone. 8 The first steam loom factory was built in Manchester 
in 1806. In 1835 there were 116,800 power looms in all Great 
Britain, all but six per cent in the cotton industry. 9 

In 1785 the exports of British cotton manufactures exceeded 
one million pounds in value; 10 they were thirty-one million in 
i83o. u The cloth printed in Great Britain increased from 20 
million yards in 1796 to 347 million in i83o. 12 The population 
employed by the industry rose from 350,000 in I788 13 to 
800,000 in i8o6. 14 There were 66 cotton mills in Manchester 
and Salford in 1820, 96 in i832. 15 Cotton was "raising men like 
mushrooms." 10 Oldham in 1760 was a village of 400 inhabitants; 
in 1801 it had 20,000. In 1753 Bolton had a single, rough, ill- 
paved street; in 1801 the population was i7,ooo. 17 Manchester's 
population increased sixfold between 1773 and i824. 18 Cotton 
weavers and manufacturers, unrepresented in the Manchester 
procession of trades in 1763 on the occasion of the coronation 
of George III, were the most prominent feature of the corona- 
tion procession of George IV in i82o. 19 In a larger sense it was 
the coronation of King Cotton. 

The Manchester capitalist from his mountain, like Moses on 
Pisgah, beheld the promised land. British cotton imports rose 
from ii million pounds in 1784^ to 283 million in i32. 21 The 
New World, thanks to Eli Whitney, had come, not for the last 
time, to the rescue of the Old. The United States supplied less 
than one-hundredth part of British cotton imports in the five 
years 1786-17^0, three-quarters in the years 1826-1830, four- 
fifths in 1846-1850. The British West Indian planter, faithful 
to his first love, sugar, could not keep pace with Manchester's 
requirements. The sugar islands provided seven-tenths of British 
cotton imports in 1786-1790, one-fiftieth in 1826-1830, less than 
one-hundredth part in i846-i85o. 22 The West Indies had built 
up Manchester in the eighteenth century. But they had become 
a tiny speck on Manchester's limitless horizon in the year her 
parvenu magnates sent their first delegates to Westminster, and 

BRITISH CAPITALISM, 1783-1833 129 

this was full of portent for those who persisted in their delusion 
that the bonds of empire, like those of matrimony, were indis- 

Less spectacular, perhaps, but no less significant was the 
progress made in the metallurgical industries, without which 
the reign of machinery would have been impossible. Britain's 
production of pig iron increased ten times between 1788 and 
i83o. 23 There were three times as many furnaces in operation 
in 1830 as in ij88. 2 * The iron sent down the Glamorganshire 
and Monmouthshire Canals increased two and a half times 
between the years 1820 and 1833; from Cyfartha the export 
doubled, from Dowlais it trebled during the same period. 26 In 
1800 the proportion of home make to the foreign import was 
four to one; in 1828, fifty to one. 26 "Britain after Waterloo," 
Clapham writes, "clanged with iron like a smithy." 27 

Iron smelting required coal. The coal mines worked in 
Northumberland and Durham almost doubled in number be- 
tween 1800 and 1836, production increased from six million 
tons in 1780 to thirty million in i836. 28 An enormous saving 
was effected when in 1829 the invention of the hot blast in 
smelting reduced the coal fuel required by more than two- 
thirds. 29 

Iron was being put to a variety of new uses pillars, rails, 
gas and water mains, bridges, ships. Wilkinson built a "cast iron 
chapel" for the Methodists at Bradley, 30 and London even 
experimented with iron paving. But the greatest victory was 
in the construction of machinery. The early textile machinery 
was made of wood, by the manufacturers themselves or to their 
order. The decade of the twenties saw the emergence of the 
professional purveyor of machines made with the help of other 
machines, and the beginning of the manufacture of inter- 
changeable parts which was facilitated by the invention of new 
tools and the discovery of the technique of cutting accurate 
screws. In 1834 the firm of William Fairbairn offered to turn 
out an equipped mill for any price, trade, site or motive power. 81 

In 1832 the average iron master ranked, as capitalist and 
entrepreneur, on equal terms with the cotton spinner. 82 In the 


Reformed Parliament not only cotton, iron, too, was ready to 
discard monopoly as a suit it had outgrown. Bar iron exports 
more than doubled between 1815 and 1833, and in 1825 Britain 
permitted what turned out to be a fatal decision a partial 
relaxation of the ban on the export of machinery. British rails 
covered the railroads of France and the United States. The 
sugar colonies took one-tenth of British iron exports in 1815, 
one-thirty-third in 1833; the United States one-quarter in 1815, 
one-third in i833. 33 The sugar planters, who had for so long 
enjoyed an unquestioned right to a box seat, could now barely 
find standing room. 

"In my humble opinion," wrote a manufacturer in 1804, "the 
woollen cannot too closely follow the steps of the cotton 
trade." 34 Imitation, however, was slow, and the persistence of 
the ancient forms more pronounced in the woolen industry. The 
flying shuttle was not in general use in the West Riding till 
1800, power weaving remained experimental down to 1830. The 
domestic clothier was still a powerful element in woolen pro- 
duction, and as late as 1856 only half the number of people em- 
ployed in the industry worked in factories. The average woolen 
or worsted mill in 1835 contained, as we have seen, only one- 
fourth of the number of workers in cotton mills. 35 

In 1817 the production of woolen pieces in the West Riding, 
the chief center of the industry, was six times the figure for 
I738. 36 In 1800 the imports of wool were 4,600 tons; in the late 
thirties they were five times as large. 37 The value of woolen 
fabrics exported rose from four million pounds in 1772 to 
seven million in 1 80 1. In 1802, for the first time, they were ex- 
ceeded by the exports of cotton manufactures; in 1830 they 
were five million pounds, one-sixth of the value of the cotton 
exports. 38 Population increased rapidly, as in the cotton centers. 
Leeds had a population of 17,000 on the eve of the American 
Revolution, seven times as many in 1831. Halifax more than 
doubled its population between 1760 and 1831; Bradford's in- 
creased two and a half times between 1801 and 1831; Hudders- 
field's doubled. During these thirty years the population of the 
whole West Riding rose from 564,000 to 98o,ooo. 39 

BRITISH CAPITALISM, 1783-1833 13! 

Up to 1815 Britain depended for her supplies of wool chiefly 
on Spain, Portugal and Germany. Captain John Macarthur, on 
his way to New South Wales, bought some merino sheep at the 
Cape. In 1806 the first shipment of Australian wool, 246 pounds, 
reached England. Twenty-four years later, the import was 
3,564,532 pounds. 40 In 1828 Australian wool was described as 
of extraordinary softness and more highly prized than any 
other variety, and it was predicted that in fifteen or twenty 
years Britain would be getting from Australia as much of the 
finer wool as she needed. 41 The prediction was justified. Austra- 
lia enjoyed in the nineteenth century in regard to wool "some- 
thing approaching to the kind of monopoly," as Merivale put 
it, "which Mexico enjoyed, in the days of her prosperity, in the 
production of the precious metals." 42 In the new anti-imperialist 
world which began in the forties, emphasis shifted, where em- 
pire had to be maintained, from islands to continents, from 
tropical to temperate climates, from plantations of blacks to 
settlements of whites. 

Britain's mechanized might was making the whole world her 
footstool. She was clothing the world, exporting men and ma- 
chines, and had become the world's banker. With the exception 
of India and Singapore the key to the China trade acquired 
in 1819, the British Empire was a geographical expression. "It 
would not be worth my while," wrote Boulton in 1769 of his 
steam engines, "to make for three counties only, but I find it 
very well worth my while to make for all the world." 43 Brit- 
ish capital, like British production, was thinking in world terms. 
"Between 1815 and 1830," writes Leland Jenks, "at least fifty 
million pounds had been invested more or less permanently in 
the securities of the most stable European governments, more 
than twenty million had been invested in one form or another in 
Latin America, and five or six millions had very quietly found 
their way to the United States." 44 But no one would advance 
a shilling on West Indian plantations. 45 

Between 1820 and 1830 over one-third of United States ex- 
ports went to Britain, and the United States took one-sixth of 
British exports, which constituted over two-fifths of her total 


imports. 46 In 1821 the United States took one-seventh of Brit- 
ish exports, in 1832 one-ninth; the exports increased in value 
by one-tenth. 47 British purchases of Southern cotton stimulated 
the expansion of the cotton kingdom; private and state-owned 
banks in the South sought loans in London. 48 

The revolutions in Latin America opened up a wide vista to 
British trade, once the barriers of Spanish mercantilism had 
been broken down, while Britain's ancient alliance with Portu- 
gal gave her a privileged position in Brazil. "The nail is driven," 
wrote Canning in exultation, "Spanish America is free, and if 
we do not mismanage our affairs sadly she is English." 49 Brazil 
took one-twentieth of total British exports in 1821, one-twelfth 
in 1832; the exports increased two and a half times. 50 Foreign 
colonies in North and South America, which accounted for 
one-thirteenth of the total British export trade in 1821, took 
more than one-seventh in 1832; the exports trebled in value 
during these years. 51 The new Latin American governments 
found willing lenders in English financial circles. "The more a 
country borrowed," says Jenks, "the better its credit, it 
seemed." 52 Liverpool forgot Jamaica, Grenada and Barbados; 
it traded and thought now in terms of Valparaiso, Antofagasta, 
Callao and Guayaquil. 

In 1821 British exports to the world amounted to forty-three 
million pounds; in 1832 they were sixty-five million, an increase 
of one-half. 53 In both years Europe took nearly half of the 
total. 54 The East Indies and China took one-twelfth in 1821, 
one-tenth in 1832; the exports increased by three-quarters. 55 

What, then, of the British West Indies? Exports to all the 
islands declined by one-fifth, to Jamaica by one-third. In 1821 
the British West Indies took one-ninth of the total, in 1832 one- 
seventeenth; in 1821 Jamaica took one-thirteenth, in 1831 one- 
thirty-third. 56 The British West Indies were thus becoming in- 
creasingly negligible to British capitalism, and this was of pro- 
found importance to an age in which the doctrine of increasing 
returns was finding its way into the body of economic thought. 
As Burn writes: "judged by the standards of economic im- 
perialism, the British West India colonies, a considerable success 
about 1750, were a failure eighty years later." 67 

BRITISH CAPITALISM, 1783-1833 133 

In 1825, moreover, the Navigation Laws had been modified, 
and the colonies were given permission to trade directly with 
any part of the world. The first salient in the monopolistic front 
had been driven. It was enlarged in the same year, when the 
sugar of Mauritius, an Eastern possession acquired in 1815, was 
admitted on the same footing as British West Indian sugar. 
The colonial monopoly of the home market remained. This 
was vital to the West Indian. As far as the British capitalist was 
concerned, no special legislation was required to make the West 
Indian sugar planter buy goods which the whole world was 
buying because they were cheapest and best. If Manchester still 
thrived on "shirts for black men," the British West Indies had 
no monopoly of blacks, and the larger slave populations of the 
United States and Brazil offered attractive markets. The West 
Indian planter did not pay a farthing more than his Brazilian 
rival for calicoes. Of what use, then, asked Manchester in wrath, 
was the system of monopoly to the British manufacturer? 58 Its 
original purpose was now, as Merivale put it, "pursued by 
means of sacrifices on our part, made absolutely without any 
consideration from theirs". 59 If, to alter somewhat the words of 
a modern writer, the British West Indies in 1832 were, socially, 
an inferno; they were, economically, what was much worse, an 
anachronism. 60 

Mercantilism had run its course. It was necessary only to give 
political expression to the new economic situation. The agita- 
tion for the Reform Bill was most powerful in the industrial 
centers and their commercial satellites. In this political struggle 
the West Indian slave owners were vitally interested. "God for- 
bid," said Lord Wynford, "that there should be anything like 
a forcing of the master to abandon his property in the slave! 
Once adopt that principle and there was an end to all prop- 
erty." 61 West Indian slavery depended upon the rotten 
boroughs, and Cobbett realized only belatedly that "the fruit of 
the labour of these slaves has long been converted into the 
means of making us slaves at home." 62 

When the Reform Bill was rejected by the House of Lords, 
the London reformist press appeared in black-edged editions, 


and nightly in every church in the land the bells were rung. 
Nottingham Castle, owned by the Duke of Newcastle, prince of 
rotten-borough-owners, was burned to the ground by an angry 
crowd. Bristol's representative, who had opposed Reform in the 
House of Commons, was in danger of his life. The town hall was 
sacked, the jails and bishop's palace burned. Attwood formed 
the Political Union in Birmingham and threatened revolution. 
The tricolor was raised at Bethnal Green, London; revolu- 
tionary manifestoes appeared and placards were displayed bear- 
ing the inscription, "no taxes paid here." The Common Council 
called upon the House of Commons not to pass to the budget 
until the Reform Bill had become law. The Royal Family were 
caricatured and insulted and advised to leave London. A revolu- 
tionary device was proposed a run on the banks: "to stop the 
Duke (Wellington), go for gold." Revolution was around the 
corner. 63 

The opponents of the measure, however, backed down after 
the King's reluctant promise to create sufficient new^ peers, and 
the Reform Bill became law. The political structure of England 
was brought into accord with the economic revolution which 
had taken place. In the new Parliament the capitalists, their 
needs and aspirations were paramount. Once the colonial trade 
had meant everything. In the new capitalist society the colonies 
had little place. "The exportation of a piece of British broad- 
cloth," wrote Eden in 1802, "is more beneficial to us than the 
re-exportation of a quantity of Bengal muslin or of West India 
coffee of equal value." 64 In 1832 an official of the East India 
Company explained to a parliamentary committee that woolens 
were exported to China, even when the market was not good, 
as a matter of tradition and duty: "it was considered a moral 
obligation." 65 Trade by "moral obligation" was one of the 
deadly sins in the gospel according to Manchester. 

8 . 



Indian monopolists had to face. They had the advantages of 
prestige, custom, their great contributions to British economy 
in the past, and a strongly entrenched position. We can see 
today that they were doomed, that the Lilliputians could not 
hold down Gulliver nor their barbs hurt him. Lecturing to Ox- 
ford undergraduates in 1839, Merivale warned that "the rapid 
tide of sublunary events is carrying us inevitably past that 
point at which the maintenance of colonial systems and naviga- 
tion laws was practicable, whether it were desirable or not. We 
are borne helplessly along with the current; we may struggle 
and protest, and marvel why the barriers which ancient fore- 
thought had raised against the stream now bend like reeds be- 
fore its violence, but we cannot change our destiny. The mo- 
nopoly of the West Indian islands cannot stand. . . ." 1 The 
West Indians, however, could not see this and acted as all 
vested interests do. They put up a desperate fight, "struggling 
by the aid of their accumulated wealth against the encroaching 
principle of decay," 2 blind to all considerations and conse- 
quences except the maintenance of their diseased system. 

The attack on the West Indians was more than an attack on 
slavery. It was an attack on monopoly. Their opponents were 
not only the humanitarians but the capitalists. The reason for 
the attack was not only that the West Indian economic system 
was vicious but that it was also so unprofitable that for this 
reason alone its destruction was inevitable. 3 The agent for 



Jamaica complained in 1827 that "the cause of the colonies al- 
together, but more especially that part of it which touches upon 
property in slaves, is so unattractive to florid orators and so un- 
popular with the public, that we have and must have very little 
protection from Parliamentary speaking." 4 Hibbert was only 
half right. If West Indian slavery was detestable, West Indian 
monopoly was unpopular, and the united odium of both was 
more than the colonies could bear. 5 

The attack falls into three phases: the attack on the slave 
trade, the attack on slavery, the attack on the preferential sugar 
duties. The slave trade was abolished in 1807, slavery in 1833, 
the sugar preference in 1846. The three events are inseparable. 
The very vested interests which had been built up by the slave 
system now turned and destroyed that system. The humanitar- 
ians, in attacking the system in its weakest and most indefensible 
spot, spoke a language that the masses could understand. They 
could never have succeeded a hundred years before when every 
important capitalist interest was on the side of the colonial 
system. "It was an arduous hill to climb," sang Wordsworth in 
praise of Clarkson. The top would never have been reached but 
for the defection of the capitalists from the ranks of the slave- 
owners and slave traders. The West Indians, pampered and 
petted and spoiled for a century and a half, made the mistake 
of elevating into a law of nature what was actually only a law 
of mercantilism. They thought themselves indispensable and 
carried over to an age of anti-imperialism the lessons they had 
been taught in an age of commercial imperialism. When, to 
their surprise, the "invisible hand" of Adam Smith turned 
against them, they could turn only to the invisible hand of 
God. 6 The rise and fall of mercantilism is the rise and fall of 


Queen Victoria once sent a famous message to two African 
chiefs: "England has become great and happy by the knowl- 
edge of the true God and Jesus Christ." 7 To the Manchester 
capitalist, "Jesus Christ was Free Trade, and Free Trade was 
Jesus Christ." 8 


If Corn was the king of monopolies, Sugar was his queen. 
The attack on the preferential sugar duties of the West Indies 
was a part of that general philosophy which in 1812 destroyed 
the East India Company 's monopoly and in 1 846 the Corn Laws 
of England. The Anti-Corn Law League, said its treasurer, was 
"established on the same righteous principle as the Anti-Slavery 
Society. The object of that society was to obtain the free right 
for the Negroes to possess their own flesh and blood the ob- 
ject of this was to obtain the free right of the people to ex- 
change their labor for as much food as could be got for it." 9 In 
the delirium of free trade sentiments the brunt of the advance 
on the anti-monopolistic front had to be borne by the West 
Indian monopoly which was not only iniquitous but expensive. 

The advocates of East India sugar persistently attacked the 
West Indian monopoly. They called the islands "sterile rocks," 
whose insatiable calls for money represented "an eternal sponge 
on the capitals of this country, both national and commercial." 
Even before the end of the eighteenth century Britain was 
"ripe for an abolition of monopolies." A general hardship could 
not be inflicted on the community at large for the sake of af- 
fording a partial and unreasonable benefit to a small number 
of its members. 10 

The East Indian opposition was more virulent in the eighteen 
twenties. They wanted, at least so they alleged, no exclusive 
favor, preference or protection. All they asked for was equality 
with the West Indies. 11 Were the West Indians entitled to the 
enjoyment of the monopoly merely because they had enjoyed 
it for a length of time? "It would be to contend, that because 
a great many people who used to be employed in the manu- 
facture of cotton, or other articles, by hand, are thrown out of 
employment by the invention, of machinery, a tax upon ma- 
chinery should therefore be levied. ... It would be to say that 
because the conveyance by canal has been found much more 
cheap and convenient than the old mode of conveyance by 
wagon, a tax should therefore be laid upon canal conveyance." 12 
The claim of the West Indians that they were entitled to a con- 
tinuance of protection because they had invested their capital 
in sugar cultivation was "a claim which might be urged with 


equal force in the case of every improvident speculation." 13 
They could not depart from the ordinary principles of com- 
merce in order to benefit the West Indians. 14 Hume trusted 
that the good sense, the honest feeling and the patriotism of the 
British people would never allow the continuance of such a 
monopoly, for all restraints and monopolies were bad. 15 

As early as 1815 a protest was entered in the Journals of the 
House of Lords against the Corn Laws, threatening the very 
keystone of the arch of protection. In 1820 the merchants of 
London presented a petition to Parliament in which it was 
stated that "freedom from restraint is calculated to give the ut- 
most extension to foreign trade and the best direction to the 
capital and industry of the country." 16 In the same year Mr. 
Finlay, of Glasgow, made an impassioned speech in support 
of a petition from the Chamber of Commerce of Glasgow 
praying for free trade and the removal of all restrictions upon 
commercial imports and exports. "If it should be found," said 
Finlay, "that the history of our commercial policy has been a 
tissue of mistakes and false notions, it surely was not too much 
to express a hope that the policy should be given up." 17 All 
monopolies, declared the merchants of Liverpool, which pro- 
hibited trade with any other country, and in particular the East 
India Company's monopoly, were injurious to the general in- 
terests of the country. The Corporation of the town declared 
that British subjects possessed "an inherent right" to a free 
intercourse with any part of the world. Not without reason had 
Pitt complimented Adam Smith some thirty years before at a 
dinner party, "We are all your scholars." 18 

The West Indian monopoly was not only unsound in theory, 
it was unprofitable in practice. In 1828 it was estimated that it 
cost the British people annually more than one and a half mil- 
lion pounds. 19 In 1844 it was costing the country 70,000 a week 
and London 6,ooo. 20 England was paying for its sugar five 
millions more a year than the Continent. 21 Three and a half 
million pounds of British exports to the West Indies in 1838, 
said Merivale, purchased less than half as much sugar and coffee 
as they would have purchased if carried to Cuba and Brazil. 
Goods to the value of one and three-quarter million pounds 


"were therefore as completely thrown away, without remunera- 
tion, as far as Britain is concerned, as if the vessels which con- 
veyed them had perished on the voyage." 22 Two-fifths of the 
price of every pound of sugar consumed in England represented 
the cost of production, two-fifths went in revenue to the gov- 
ernment, one-fifth in tribute to the West Indian planter. 23 

It was high time to revise this "beetle-eyed" policy which 
bolstered up "the rotten cause" of the West Indian slave- 
holder. 24 Huskisson pleaded for caution. "That the West Indian 
was an owner of slaves was not his fault but his misfortune; 
and if it was true that the production of slavery was more 
costly than that of free labour, that would be an additional 
reason for not depriving him of the advantage of his protecting 
duty." 25 But the West Indians were not to misunderstand this. 
"The time must come, and could not be far distant, when the 
subject would be ripe for consideration, and when it would be 
the imperative duty of Parliament to enter into a full investiga- 
tion of all the circumstances connected with it." 26 

The capitalists, eager to lower wages, advocated the policy of 
"the free breakfast table." It was injustice and folly to impose 
protective duties on food. 27 Monopoly was unsound, costly to 
all, and had destroyed the great colonial empires of the past. 28 
The West India interest was doomed. "There can be no pros- 
perity for the West India colonies by any arrangement or 
juggling of duties in this house. No majorities here will give 
prosperity to the West Indies; and no dancing attendance at 
the Colonial Office will accomplish any such end." 29 The pro- 
tective system was compared to many monkeys in different 
cages, each stealing from his neighbor's pan, and each losing as 
much as he had stolen. 30 Ricardo advised the planters to yield 
gracefully; "the ball was rolling, and nothing that they could 
do would suffice to stop it." 31 

Time was when the leading statesmen were on the West 
Indian side. Now Palmerston lined up with the opponents of 
the planters. The word "protection" should be erased from 
every commercial dictionary, 32 as "a principle of fatal injury to 
the country and inimical to the prosperity of every country to 
whose affairs it may be applied." 33 


The protectionists were on the side of the West Indians. The 
landed aristocracy of the corn bushels joined hands with the 
landed aristocracy of the sugar hogsheads. Peel, free trader in 
cotton and silk, was protectionist in corn and sugar. The West 
Indian cause was ably championed by Bentinck, Stanley and 
Disraeli. If the West Indian interest was made, as Disraeli 
criticized, "the harridan of party/' 34 he too was instrumental 
in so making it. The debates on the repeal of the corn laws and 
the equalization of the sugar duties gave him an audience for 
his matchless oratory and mordant wit, but it is doubtful 
whether any serious personal convictions or economic phi- 
losophy motivated his diatribes. For when the West Indians, 
after 1846, were trying to postpone the evil day of actual en- 
forcement of the principle of free trade in sugar, Disraeli, too, 
turned against them. "After the immense revolution that has 
been carried into effect, we cannot cling to the rags and tatters 
of a protective system"; 35 and in Sybil he wrote with detach- 
ment that in a commercial country like England every half 
century developed some new source of public wealth and 
brought into public notice some new and powerful class the 
Levant merchant, the West Indian planter, the East Indian 
nabob. 36 Mercantilism was not only dead but damned. 

The West Indians tried to stem the free trade torrent. The 
colonial system was "an implicit compact . . . for a mutual 
monopoly." 37 It was theirs, they claimed, not of grace but of 
right. Their exclusive possession of the home market was their 
just reward for the restrictions imposed on them by the colonial 
system. 38 At other times they were not indisposed to plead for 
charity. The superior advantages of their rivals made competi- 
tion impossible and the protecting duty indispensable to their 
preservation. In the case of India they pointed to the cheapness 
of labor, the abundance of food and unlimited extent of the 
richest soil, capable of irrigation and intersected with navigable 
rivers. 39 In the case of Brazil they blamed the facility with 
which the Brazilians could acquire laborers for their fertile soil. 
Whatever the state of these colonies their refrain was always 
the same protection. "Ruin" was ever the first word in their 


vocabulary a word used to designate "not the poverty of the 
people, not the want of food or raiment, not even the absence 
of riches or luxury, but simply the decrease of sugar cultiva- 
tion." 40 Where they had, as slaveowners before 1833, de- 
manded protection against the free-grown sugar of India, now, 
as employers of free labor after 1833, they demanded it against 
the slave-grown sugar of Brazil and Cuba. Where formerly 
they had extenuated the evils of sugar cultivation by slaves, now 
they exaggerated those evils. As slave owners they had apol- 
ogised for the evils of slavery; as employers of free men they 
exalted the blessings of freedom. Inconsistent in all things, they 
were yet consistent in one the maintenance of their monopoly. 

To the very end the West Indians continued to suffer from 
their myopia and to demand a seventeenth century position in 
a nineteenth century empire. Read their manifestoes, pamphlets 
and speeches instead of Saint Domingue there is India or 
Mauritius or Brazil or Cuba. The dates have changed, free- 
dom has replaced slavery. But their claims are the same, their 
fallacies identical. They keep "crying out for more monopoly, 
in order to redress those evils which monopoly itself in- 
flicted." 41 They are greeted with sneers and contempt 42 but 
pay no heed. Occasionally they talk free trade, as when a West 
Indian, opposing the renewal of the charter of the West India 
Dock Company, lectured Parliament on "the impolicy as well 
as injustice of continuing, in an enlightened age as this, such 
monopolies, which were at once injurious to commerce and to 
the revenue of the country." 43 In general, however, they re- 
main oblivious of the new order and the beam in their own 

Protection and Labor these were their slogans in 1846 as 
they had been in 1746. Protection was simply justice. 44 To re- 
fuse it was un-English. 45 The protecting duty was necessary to 
safeguard the experiment of free labor. 46 Sugar cultivation re- 
quires labor. Give us indentured Africans, indentured East 
Indians, convicts, now that you have emancipated the Negroes 
and made them lazy; and some, in desperation, even advocated 
the renewal of the slave trade. 47 

Their outstanding champion was Gladstone. But Gladstone 


was more than a West Indian; he was an imperial statesman as 
well, who never lost sight of the wood for the trees. With all 
the casuistry and eloquence at his disposal and he had much of 
both Gladstone tried to justify the West Indian monopoly on 
the ground that it was protection for free-grown sugar against 
slave-grown sugar. But he was forced to admit that the dis- 
tinction was not so clear that it could be drawn with uniform 
and absolute precision. 48 Nor could he ignore the fact that the 
West Indian claim for protection was weakened after 1836 
when the protecting duty was extended to East Indian sugar 
which could plead no such difficulties and disadvantages as 
faced the West Indians. 49 And Gladstone knew that the course 
had been run. Protection could not be permanent, and even if 
continued for twenty years, would not bring West Indian 
cultivation to a sound and healthy state. 50 


The colonial system was the spinal cord of the commercial 
capitalism of the mercantile epoch. In the era of free trade the 
industrial capitalists wanted no colonies at all, least of all the 
West Indies. 

The trend dated back, as we have seen, to the early years of 
the Industrial Revolution. Its development paralleled the de- 
velopment of the free trade movement. The whole world now 
became a British colony and the West Indies were doomed. 
The leader of the movement was Cobden. Cobden referred ap- 
provingly to Adam Smith's chapters in his "immortal work" 
on the expense of colonies. 51 To him the colonial question was 
a pecuniary question. 52 The colonies were expensive encum- 
brances, making dazzling appeals to the passions of the people, 
serving only as "gorgeous and ponderous appendages to swell 
our ostensible grandeur, but, in reality, to complicate and 
magnify our government expenditure, without improving our 
balance of trade." He could see nothing but a "monstrous im- 
policy" in "sacrificing our trade with a new continent, of al- 
most boundless extent of rich territory, in favour of a few 
small islands, with comparatively exhausted soils." 53 In 1852 


the British declared war on Burma and annexed Lower Burma. 
Cobden protested. He wrote an article entitled "How wars are 
got up in India," suggesting that Britain ought "to advertise in 
the Times for a governor-general who can collect a debt of a 
thousand pounds without annexing a territory which will be 
ruinous to our finances." 54 

To Molesworth, one of the outstanding colonial reformers, 
Britain's colonial policy was motivated by "an insane desire of 
worthless empire," as on the frontier of the Cape Colony in 
South Africa, where "the loss of one axe and two goats . . . 
has cost this country a couple of millions sterling." Australia 
was a collection of "communities, the offspring of convict emi- 
gration." New Zealand was a constant headache with its "im- 
becile governors, discreditable functionaries, and unnecessary 
wars with the natives." South Africa was "a huge worthless and 
costly empire, extending over nearly 300,000 square miles, 
chiefly rugged mountains, and arid deserts, and barren plains, 
without water, without herbage, without navigable rivers, with- 
out harbours, in short, without everything except the elements 
of great and increasing expense to this country." In charge of 
this diverse and heterogeneous collection of colonies was the 
Colonial Secretary, "traversing and retraversing, in his imagi- 
nation, the terraqueous globe flying from the Arctic to the 
Antarctic pole hurrying from the snows of North America to 
the burning regions of the Tropics rushing across from the 
fertile islands of the West Indies to the arid deserts of South 
Africa and Australia like nothing on earth, or in romance, 
save the Wandering Jew." 55 The cost of protecting this em- 
pire was one-third of Britain's export trade to the colonies. Co- 
lonial independence was cheaper. The colonies should be freed 
from the "ever-changing, frequently well-intentioned, but in- 
variably weak and ignorant despotism" of the Colonial Office. 50 

Hume, another radical politician, joined in the attack on 
"Mr. Mother Country." Remove the iron chains which fettered 
the best exertions of the colonies, 57 let them manage their own 
affairs instead of being kept in leading strings and subjected to 
the fluctuating management of Downing Street. 58 The Colonial 
Office "is" a nuisance and should be locked up. 59 


Trusteeship was out of fashion. Roebuck, a free-lance Radi- 
cal, opposed as cant the humanitarian refusal to surrender the 
colonies to local self-government. History taught that the sav- 
age must disappear in the face of the relentless advance of a 
superior race; justice and humanity must yield to the iron law 
of an unjust necessity. 60 James Stephen, the famous Permanent 
Under-Secretary of the Colonial Office, never wavered in his 
determination not to lay down the "wretched burdens which 
in an evil hour we assumed." But the capitalists, like Taylor, 
also of the Colonial Office, could see in the colonies nothing 
but "furious assemblies, foolish governors, missionaries and 
slaves," 61 which, in the words of Merivale, were to be retained 
for the mere "pleasure of governing them." 62 Nothing was true 
but what went to West Indian condemnation, nothing was just 
but what went to West Indian ruin. 63 It seemed to the desperate 
planters as if a coalition had been formed to destroy the 
colonies. 64 The assemblies of Jamaica and British Guiana went 
on strike in 1838 and 1840 and refused to vote supplies. 
Jamaica preferred "Yankee Doodle" to "God save the 
Queen." 65 Who cared? Members of Parliament were prepared 
to barter the West Indies to America for a slight com- 
pensation. 66 "Jamaica to the bottom of the sea," thundered 
Roebuck, "and all the Antilles after it." These "barren 
colonies" had been a source of nothing but war and expendi- 
ture. 67 They had ever been the "most fatal appendages" of 
the British empire, and if they were to be blotted out from 
the face of the earth Britain would lose not "one jot of her 
strength, one penny of her wealth, one instrument of her 
power." 88 

It was an epidemic. Even Disraeli, the arch imperialist of 
later decades, was infected. In 1 846 the "forlorn Antilles" were 
still to him "a fragment, but a fragment which I value, of the 
colonial system of England." 69 Six years later Canada had be- 
come a diplomatic embarrassment, and the wretched colonies a 
"damnosa hereditas," millstones round Britain's neck. 70 In nine 
cases out of ten, according to Gladstone, it was impossible to 
secure parliamentary attention to colonial concerns and in the 
tenth case it was only obtained by the casual operations of 


party spirit. 71 The age of empire was dead; that of free traders, 
economists, and calculators had succeeded, and the glory of the 
West Indies was extinguished for ever. Only another thirty 
years, however, the tune would change. But the West Indian 
Humpty Dumpty had had a great fall, and all the King's 
horses and all the King's men could not put Humpty Dumpty 
together again. 


The strength of the British sugar islands before 1783 lay in 
the fact that as sugar producers they had few competitors. In 
so far as they could, they would permit none. They resisted 
the attempt to introduce the cultivation of sugar (and cotton) 
into Sierra Leone on the ground that it would be a precedent 
to "foreign nations, who have as yet no colonies anywhere," 72 
and might prove detrimental to those who possessed West In- 
dian colonies; 73 just as a century previously they had opposed 
the cultivation of indigo in Africa. 74 Their chief competitors 
in the sugar trade were Brazil and the French islands, Cuba be- 
ing hampered by the extreme exclusiveness of Spanish mercan- 
tilism. This situation was radically altered when Saint Domingue 
forged ahead in the years immediately following the secession 
of the mainland colonies. 

The cultivation of Barbados and Jamaica had transferred the 
sugar trade of Europe from .Portugal to England. The progress 
of Saint Domingue gave control of the European sugar market 
to France. Between 1715 and 1789 French imports from the 
colonies multiplied eleven times, French colonial products re- 
exported abroad ten times. 75 In 1789 two-thirds of French ex- 
ports to the Baltic, over one-third of the exports to the Levant, 
were colonial produce. It was "by it, and by it alone, that she 
turned the balance of the trade with all the world to a favour- 
able result." 76 

It was the old law of slave production at work. Saint Dom- 
ingue was larger than any British colony, its soil was more 
fertile and less exhausted, hence its costs of production were 
lower. This difference in costs of production became an object 


of particular inquiry with the Privy Council Committee of 1788. 

From the standpoint of the ^British Prime Minister, William 
Pitt, this was the decisive factor. The age of the British sugar 
islands was over. The West Indian system was unprofitable, 
and the slave trade on which it rested, "instead of being very 
advantageous to Great Britain ... is the most destructive that 
can well be imagined to her interests." 77 For a Prime Minister 
whose father had been consistently on the West Indian side of 
the fence, and whose predecessor a mere ten years previously 
had blandly turned down a petition for abolition, this was a 
momentous conversion. Pitt turned to India. 

Pitt's plan was twofold: to recapture the European market 
with the aid of sugar from India, 78 and to secure an inter- 
national abolition of the slave trade 79 which would ruin Saint 
Domingue. If not international abolition, then British abolition. 
The French were so dependent on British slave traders that 
even a unilateral abolition by England would seriously dislocate 
the economy of the French colonies. 

Pitt's plan failed, for two reasons. The importation of East 
India sugar, on the scale planned, was impossible owing to the 
high duties imposed on all sugar not the produce of the British 
West Indies. 80 Lord Hawkesbury, for the West Indian monop- 
olists, opposed the alteration of the existing law "in favour of 
a monopolising company" which was exceeding the bounds of 
its charter. 81 But Hawkesbury was more than a West Indian. 
He was in close touch with British commerce and industry, 
especially Liverpool. He therefore recommended, instead, the 
importation of all foreign sugar provided it was done in British 
ships and solely for refining and re-export. "The commerce and 
shipping of France will be more diminished, and the commerce 
and shipping of Great Britain more augmented, than by any 
single measure that has been pursued for the last century." 82 
By this very simple regulation Britain would recover the sugar 
trade she had enjoyed from 1660 to 1713 but which thereafter 
she lost to France. 83 

Secondly, the French, Dutch and Spaniards refused, with 
what Lord Liverpool called thirty years later "sheer perverse- 
ness," 84 to abolish the slave trade. 85 It was not difficult to see 


the political motives behind Pitt's cloak of humanitarianism. 
Gaston-Martin, the well-known French historian of the slave 
trade and the Caribbean colonies, accuses Pitt of aiming by 
propaganda to free the slaves, u in the name no doubt of human- 
ity, but also to ruin French commerce," and concludes that in 
this philanthropic propaganda there were economic motives 
which explain the liberality with which Britain put funds at 
the disposal of the French abolitionists, and the way in which 
France was swamped with translations of the anti-slavery 
works of the British abolitionist, Clarkson. 86 As Ramsay had 
admitted: "We may confidently conclude that the African trade 
is more confined in its utility than is generally imagined and 
that of late years it has contributed more to the aggrandisement 
of our rivals than of our national wealth." 87 

At this juncture the French Revolution came to the aid of 
Pitt. Fearful that the idealism of the revolutionary movement 
would destroy the slave trade and slavery, the French planters 
of Saint Domingue in 1791 offered the island to England, 88 and 
were soon followed by those of the Windward Islands. 8 " Pitt ac- 
cepted the offer, when war broke out with France in 1793. 
Expedition after expedition was sent unsuccessfully to capture 
the precious colony, first from the French, then from the 
Negroes. It was not, Parliament was assured, "a war for riches 
or local aggrandisement but a war for security." 90 The allied 
cause in Europe was weakened in the interests of British im- 
perialism. "The secret of England's impotence for the first six 
years of the war," writes Fortescue, historian of the British 
army, "may be said to lie in the two fatal words, St. Do- 
mingo." 91 Britain lost thousands of men and spent thousands of 
pounds in the attempt to capture Saint Domingue. She failed, 
but the world's sugar bowl was destroyed in the process and 
French colonial superiority smashed forever. "For this," writes 
Fortescue, "England's soldiers had been sacrificed, her treasure 
squandered, her influence weakened, her arm for six fateful 
years fettered, numbed and paralysed." 92 

This is of more than academic interest. Pitt could not have 
had Saint Domingue and abolition as well. Without its 40,000 
slave imports a year, Saint Domingue might as well have been 


at the bottom of the sea. The very acceptance of the island 
meant logically the end of Pitt's interest in abolition. Naturally 
he did not say so. He had already committed himself too far in 
the eyes of the public. He continued to speak in favor of 
abolition, even while giving every practical encouragement to 
the slave trade. But it was not the old Pitt of 1789-1791, the 
Pitt of Latin tags, brilliant oratory and infectious humanitarian- 
ism. The change can be followed in the debates in Parliament 
and in Wilberforce's diary. In 1792 Wilberforce's diary struck 
the first ominous note: "Pitt threw out against slave motion on 
St. Domingo account." 93 Thereafter Pitt's support of Wilber- 
force's annual motions became nothing short of perfunctory. 
On one occasion he supported the West Indians, on another he 
put off the motion, on another he "stood stiffly" by Wilber- 
force, on yet another he simply stayed away. 94 Under Pitt's ad- 
ministration the British slave trade alone more than doubled, 95 
and Britain conquered two more sugar colonies, Trinidad and 
British Guiana. As the abolitionist Stephen wrote with bitter- 
ness: "Mr. Pitt, unhappily for himself, his country and mankind, 
is not zealous enough in the cause of the negroes, to contend 
for them as decisively as he ought, in the cabinet any more 
than in parliament." 98 

Liberal historians plead Pitt's fear of Jacobinism. The real 
reason is more simple. It can be taken as axiomatic that no man 
occupying so important a position as Prime Minister of Eng- 
land would have taken so important a step as abolishing the 
slave trade purely for humanitarian reasons. A Prime Minister 
is more than a man, he is a statesman. Pitt's reasons were po- 
litical and only secondarily personal. He was interested in the 
sugar trade. Either he must ruin Saint Domingue by flooding 
Europe with cheaper Indian sugar or by abolishing the slave 
trade; or he must get Saint Domingue for himself. If he could 
get Saint Domingue, the balance in the Caribbean would be re- 
stored. Saint Domingue would be "a noble compensation" for 
the loss of America, and "a glorious addition to the dominion, 
navigation, trade and manufactures of Britain." 97 It would give 
Britain a monopoly of sugar, indigo, cotton and coffee: "This 
island, for ages, would give such aid and force to industry as 


would be most happily felt in every part of the kingdom." Fol- 
lowed by an offensive and defensive alliance between Britain 
and Spain, "such friendship for ages might preclude France 
and America from the New World, and effectually secure the 
invaluable possessions of Spain." 08 But if Pitt captured Saint 
Domingue, the slave trade must continue. When Saint Do- 
mingue was lost to France, the slave trade became merely a 
humanitarian question. 

The destruction of Saint Domingue meant the end of the 
French sugar trade. Not all the decrees of consuls, black or 
white, wrote Eden with complacency, could fill up the gaps in 
the population of the island." But the ruin of Saint Domingue 
did not mean the salvation of the British West Indies. Two new 
enemies appeared on the scene. Cuba forged ahead to fill the 
gap left in the world market by the disappearance of Saint 
Domingue. Bonaparte, defeated in his attempts to recapture the 
lost colony and determined to conquer England by strangula- 
tion of her trade, gave the first impetus to beet sugar, and the 
war of the two sugars began. Whilst, under the American flag, 
Cuban and other neutral sugar still found a market in Europe, 
British West Indian surpluses piled up in England. Bankrupt- 
cies were the order of the day. Between 1799 and 1807, 65 
plantations in Jamaica were abandoned, 32 were sold for debts, 
and in 1 807 suits were pending against 1 1 5 others. Debt, disease 
and death were the only topics of conversation in the island. 100 
A parliamentary committee set up in 1807 discovered that the 
British West Indian planter was producing at a loss. In 1800 
his profit was 2 l / 2 per cent, in 1807 nothing. In 1787 the planter 
got i9/6d profit per hundredweight; in 1799, io/9d; in 1803, 
i8/6d; in 1805, i2/-; in 1806, nothing. The committee attributed 
the main evil to the unfavorable state of the foreign market. 101 In 
1806 the surplus of sugar in England amounted to six thousand 
tons. 102 Production had to be curtailed. To restrict production, 
the slave trade must be abolished. The "saturated" colonies 
needed only seven thousand slaves a year. 103 It was the new 
colonies, crying out for labor, full of possibilities, that had to 
be restrained, and they were permanently crippled by abolition. 
That explains the support of the abolition bill by so many West 


Indian planters of the older islands. Ellis had stated categori- 
cally in 1 804 that the slave trade should be continued, but only 
to the older colonies. 104 It was the same old conflict between 
"saturated planters" and "planters on the make." 

The war and Bonaparte's continental blockade made abolition 
imperative if the older colonies were to survive. "Are they not 
now/' asked Prime Minister Grenville, "distressed by the ac- 
cumulation of produce on their hands, for which they cannot 
find a market; and will it not therefore be adding to their dis- 
tress, and leading the planters on to their ruin, if you suffer the 
continuation of fresh importations?" 105 Wilberforce rejoiced: 
West Indian distress could not be imputed to abolition. 106 
Actually, abolition was the direct result of that distress. 

If abolition of the slave trade was the solution of the planter's 
problems, it was only a temporary solution. For, as Merivale 
argued soundly, without imports to replace their slaves, the 
West Indies, and especially the newer colonies, could not hope 
to sustain the still fiercer competition of the nineteenth century. 
"Slavery without the slave trade . . . was rather a loss than a 
gain." 3<)7 At the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, the sugar 
planters were no better off than they had been before. India 
was still a rival to be feared. The one devil of Saint Domingue 
was replaced by three, Mauritius, Cuba, Brazil. Sugar cultiva- 
tion was later extended to Louisiana, Australia, Hawaii, Java. 
Beet continued its progress until its major victory in 1848 when 
it freed the slaves on the cane sugar plantations of the French 
colonies, while it became later a permanent European and even 
an American feature in the interest of autarchy. 

Between 1793 and 1833 the imports of sugar into Britain 
more than doubled. Complete records for the same period for 
the West Indies are lacking, but between 1815 and 1833 West 
Indian production was stationary 3,381,700 hogsheads in 1815, 
3,351,800 in 1833, with a maximum of 4,068,000 in 1828. It is 
significant that this level of production was maintained only at 
the expense of the older islands with their exhausted soil. Be- 
tween 1813 and 1833 Jamaica's production declined by nearly 
one-sixth; the exports of Antigua, Nevis and Tobago by more 


than one-quarter, St. Kitts by nearly one-half, St. Lucia's by 
two-thirds, St. Vincent's by one-sixth, Grenada's by almost one- 
eighth. Dominica's exports showed a slight increase, while 
Barbados almost doubled its exports. On the other hand, the 
output of the newer colonies increased, British Guiana's by two 
and a half times, Trinidad's by one-third. 108 

Mauritius lends further confirmation to this law of slave pro- 
duction. Its exports to Britain, less than Antigua's in 1820, were 
over four times Antigua's in i833. 109 East India sugar sold in 
England increased twenty-eight times between 1791 and 
i833. 110 Foreign sources were arising as suppliers of the raw 
material Britain needed for refining, consumption and export. 
Singapore's exports in 1833 were s * x times those of 1827; im- 
ports from the Philippines quadrupled, from Java increased 
more than twenty times. 111 Cuban sugar production increased 
more than forty times between 1775 and i865. 112 British im- 
ports from Brazil increased sevenfold between 1817 and 1831, 
from Cuba sixfold between 1817 and i832. 113 

Sugar production, as we have seen, is more efficient on a 
large plantation than on a smaller one. But the size of the 
plantation is limited by one factor transportation. The cane, 
within a specified time after it has been cut, must be taken to 
the factory. More than any other British island, Jamaica in the 
eighteenth century was the land of large planters. But in 1753 
there were only three plantations in the 2,ooo-acre class in 
Jamaica which had about one-tenth of the land in cane. The 
largest, belonging to Philip Pinnock, and called by Pitman "the 
show place" of Jamaica of that day, contained 2,872 acres of 
which 242 were in cane, employed 280 slaves, and produced 
184 tons of sugar a year. 114 After emancipation Jamaica was 
faced with the shortage of labor and wages rose. The island was 
unable to compete with the more extensive and more fertile soil 
of Cuba with its slave population. The development of the rail- 
road the first was constructed in Cuba in 1837 enabled the 
Cuban planter to enlarge his plantation, increase his output and 
reduce his costs of production, while the Jamaican planter was 
still asking for protection and labor. The competition thereby 
became more unequal. By 1860 we read of "monster" planta- 


dons in Cuba, the largest comprising 11,000 acres, of which 
over one-tenth was in cane, employing 866 slaves, and produc- 
ing 2,670 tons of sugar a year. 115 

The British West Indies had clearly lost their monopoly of 
sugar cultivation. In 1789 they could not compete with Saint 
Domingue; nor in 1820 with Mauritius; nor in 1830 with 
Brazil; nor in 1840 with Cuba. Thqir day had passed. Limited 
in extent, slave or free, they could not compete with larger 
areas, more fertile, less exhausted, where slavery was still 
profitable. Cuba could contain all the British islands of the 
Caribbean, Jamaica included. One of Brazil's mighty rivers 
could hold all the West Indian islands without its navigation 
being obstructed. 116 India could produce enough rum to drown 
the West Indies. 117 

The West Indian situation was aggravated by the fact that 
production was in excess of the home consumption. This sur- 
plus, estimated at twenty-five per cent, 118 had to be sold in 
European markets in competition with cheaper Brazilian or 
Cuban sugar. This could be done only by subsidies and bounties. 
The West Indian planters were being paid, in fact, to enable 
them to compete with people who, as we have seen, were some 
of Britain's best customers. Between 1824 and 1829 the imports 
of Cuban and Brazilian sugar into Hamburg increased by ten 
per cent while those into Prussia doubled; Cuban sugar im- 
ported by Russia increased by fifty per cent and Brazilian by 
twenty-five per cent in the same period. 119 To the capitalists 
this was intolerable. Overproduction in 1807 demanded aboli- 
tion; overproduction in 1833 demanded emancipation. "As far 
as the amount of the production of sugar is concerned," stated 
Stanley, sponsor of the emancipation measure, "I am not quite 
certain that to some extent a diminution of that production 
would be a matter of regret I am not quite certain that it might 
not be for the benefit of the planters and of the colonies them- 
selves, in the end, if that production were to be diminished." 120 
A century before the British had complained of West Indian 
underproduction, now they were complaining of West Indian 
overproduction. Common sense alone would show that the 
emancipated Negroes would remain on the plantations only 


where they had no choice. In fact, comparing the years 1839- 
1842 with the years 1831-1834, the production of Jamaica and 
Grenada declined by one-half, British Guiana's by three-fifths, 
St. Vincent's by two-fifths, Trinidad's by one-fifth, and the 
other islands proportionately. 121 

In justification of emancipation^ it was argued that the re- 
striction of production would give the planters a "real" monop- 
oly of the home market by equating production with home 
consumption. This was parliamentary strategy. Every effort 
was being made to make West Indian cultivation as expensive 
as possible. In 1832 the Trinidad Council petitioned for the 
abolition of the slave tax of one pound island currency per 
head. The Colonial Office refused: it was "of very great 
importance that this tax should be continued; instead of ren- 
dering slave labour cheaper it is desirable to render it dearer." 122 
The issue at stake was the monopoly itself. It was only the West 
Indian monopoly which restricted the full development of Brit- 
ish trade in sugar with all the world. The monopoly therefore 
must be destroyed. In 1836 the monopoly was modified by ad- 
mitting East India sugar on equal terms. In 1 846, the year of the 
repeal of the Corn Laws, the sugar duties were equalized. The 
British West Indian colonies were thereafter forgotten, until 
the Panama Canal reminded the world of their existence and re- 
volts of their underpaid free workers made them front-page 

9 - 



WHEREAS BEFORE, in the eighteenth century, every important 
vested interest in England was lined up on the side of monopoly 
and the colonial system; after 1783, one by one, every one of 
those interests came out against monopoly and the West Indian 
slave system. British exports to the world were in manufactured 
goods which could be paid for only in raw materials the cot- 
ton of the United States, the cotton, coffee and sugar of Brazil, 
the sugar of Cuba, the sugar and cotton of India. The expansion 
of British exports depended on the capacity of Britain to absorb 
the raw material as payment. The British West Indian monop- 
oly, prohibiting the importation of non-British-plantation sugar 
for home consumption, stood in the way. Every important 
vested interest the cotton manufacturers, the shipowners, the 
sugar refiners; every important industrial and commercial town 
London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, the 
West Riding of Yorkshire, joined in the attack on West Indian 
slavery and West Indian monopoly. The abolitionists, sig- 
nificantly, concentrated their attack on the industrial centers. 1 


The West Indian planters in the eighteenth century were 
both exporters of raw cotton and importers of cotton manu- 


factures. In both respects, as we have seen, they had become 
increasingly negligible. The steam engine and the cotton gin 
changed Manchester's indifference into downright hostility. As 
early as 1788 Wilberforce exulted at the fact that a liberal sub- 
scription towards abolition had been raised at Manchester, 
"deeply interested in the African trade." 2 

Manchester was unrepresented in the House of Commons 
before 1832, so its parliamentary denunciation of the West 
Indian system comes only after that date. But the seat of the 
cotton industry was interested in the problem before 1832. In 
1830 Cobbett, the workers' champion, presented himself as a 
candidate for the constituency of Manchester. His opposition 
to the landed interest would have endeared him to the later 
seat of the Anti-Corn Law League. The test came on his at- 
titude to West Indian slavery. Cobbett hated Wilberforce and 
the Methodists. When he fled to the United States in 1818 he 
wrote a letter to Orator Hunt, in which he stated that America 
had "No Wilberforces. Think of that! No Wilberforces." 3 The 
Methodists were "the vilest crew God ever suffered to infest 
the earth," and he encouraged the people to pelt them with 
rotten eggs. In his opinion the slaves were "fat and lazy nig- 
gers," laughing from morning till night, and the slave-owners 
men as gentle, as generous and as good as ever breathed. 4 The 
West Indian monopoly cost the English people nothing. 5 Man- 
chester turned him down, and his conversion to the cause came 
too late. 

Manchester was openly in favor of the campaign on behalf 
of East India sugar. On May 4, 1821, the Manchester Chamber 
of Commerce presented a petition to the House of Commons 
deprecating a preference to one colony over another, and 
particularly a preference to a settlement of slaves over a nation 
of free men. 6 In 1833 Manchester advocated the admission of 
Brazilian sugar for refining. Mark Philips, its representative in 
Parliament, spoke briefly but tersely on the vast importance of 
the subject to the great seat of the cotton manufacture which 
he represented. He emphasized the hardships imposed on ships 
having to return from Brazil without cargoes, and argued that 
the encouragement of sugar refining would increase employ- 
ment for the industrious laboring classes. 7 


In this single name Philips is summed up the whole evolution 
of Manchester and its cotton industry. In 1 749 the firm of J. N. 
Philips and Company was deeply engaged in the West Indian 
trade. In 1832 Mark Philips was elected as one of the two mem- 
bers to represent Manchester, for the first time, in the Reformed 
Parliament. 8 Philips' West Indian connections still persisted. A 
relative of Robert Hibbert, he was selected by the latter as one 
of the first board of trustees to administer the Robert Hibbert 
Trust. 9 But economically his connections with the West Indies 
were over. He was opposed to the foul blot of slavery, a senti- 
ment which aroused cheers at a dinner given in the town to 
celebrate his election. Mr. Hadfield's eloquent humanitarianism 
on the same occasion evoked loud applause. "I appeal to you 
... if liberty could possibly be enjoyed by any rational men 
without the desire to communicate it to others? . . . Shall the 
mere distinction of black and white for ever cause one race to 
be slaves while another is free? Shall it always be that one man 
should be a slave because he is black, and another be free be- 
cause he is white? ... I tell you, that until we wash out this 
foul pollution from the institutions of our country, liberty it- 
self is not safe anywhere." 10 The foul pollution was not slavery 
but monopoly. Manchester was interested not in the Holy 
Scriptures but in the census returns. 

After 1833 the Manchester capitalists were all for free trade 
in sugar, which meant slave-grown sugar. Philips supported the 
equalization of the East Indian sugar duties. The planters had 
had their compensation and should not get a farthing more. 11 
In 1839 he was for the equalization of the duties on all foreign 
sugar, for it was the duty of Parliament to lower the prices of 
all the necessities of life and afford every encouragement to the 
valuable trade with Brazil. 12 John Bright and Milner Gibson, 
who at one time was Vice-President of the Board of Trade, 
held the free trade flag aloft. They argued that the protecting 
duty to the West Indians forced the British working class to 
pay higher prices for sugar and so took away from them the 
money earned in the factories. 13 They called the duty an "ob- 
noxious tax," 14 a "species of parliamentary charity," 16 which 
was more than the cost of production. If the Brazilians could 


grow sugar for nothing, if their sugar rained down from the 
skies, if the West Indian planters had stolen their sugar, it 
would have made no difference. 16 Protection, said John Bright, 
was an opiate which made the planters everlasting grumblers 
like Oliver Twist always asking for more. 17 The cotton manu- 
facturers, he boasted, asked for no protection and needed 
none, 18 conveniently forgetting the protection they had asked 
for a century and a half earlier against Indian goods and ignorant 
of the protection they would ask for three-quarters of a cen- 
tury later against Japanese textiles. The free traders, Bright 
warned, might be defeated, but they would return to the charge 
with renewed energy. 19 The planters' demands were impu- 
dent; 20 it was not the duty of Parliament to make sugar culti- 
vation profitable, 21 and Bright advised them to grow cloves and 
nutmegs. 22 


As early as 1788 an abolition society was started in Birming- 
ham and a liberal subscription collected for the cause. 23 In this 
society the ironmasters were prominent. Three of the Lloyd 
family, with their banking interests as well, were on the com- 
mittee. The dominant figure, however, was Samuel Garbett. 24 
Garbett was an outstanding figure of the Industrial Revolution, 
more reminiscent of the twentieth than the eighteenth century. 
In his breadth of vision, the scope of his activities, the multi- 
plicity of his interests, he reminds us of Samuel Touchet. Like 
Touchet a partner in the spinning enterprise of Wyatt and 
Paul, Garbett was an associate of Roebuck's in the Carron 
Works, a shareholder with Boulton and Watt in the Albion 
Mills and in the copper mines of Cornwall. "There were in- 
deed," writes Ashton, "few sides of the industrial and commer- 
cial life of his day that he did not touch." In addition his 
energy was thrown into the politics of industry rather than 
into the details of administration. He became the ironmaster's 
spokesman to the government. 25 This was a dangerous man 
indeed to have as an opponent, for Garbett, in the larger sense, 
was Birmingham, 


At a meeting of many respectable inhabitants of Birmingham 
on January 28, 1788, Samuel Garbett presiding, it was decided to 
send a petition to Parliament. The petition stated, inter alia, that, 
"as inhabitants of a manufacturing town and neighbourhood 
your petitioners have the commercial interests of this king- 
dom very deeply at heart; but cannot conceal their detestation 
of any commerce which always originates in violence, and too 
often terminates in cruelty." Gustavus Vasa, an African, visited 
Birmingham, and received a sympathetic welcome. 26 

This was not to say that Birmingham was unanimous or 
single-minded on the issue of abolition. The manufacturers still 
interested in the slave trade held counter-meetings and sent 
counter-petitions to Parliament. 27 But Samuel Garbett, the 
Lloyds and others of that caliber were, from the West Indian 
standpoint, on the wrong side of the fence. 

In 1832 Birmingham was the center of that agitation which, 
led by the ironmaster Attwood, brought England to the verge 
of revolution and culminated in the Reform Bill of 1832. Again 
the town was divided on the emancipation issue. A public meet- 
ing held in the Assembly Room of the Royal Hotel on April 
1 6, 1833, was of a noisy and turbulent character and ended in 
disorder, the proprietor claiming damages for broken chairs 
and glass. 28 Birmingham was one of the many industrial centers 
which voted in 1833 for a shorter period of "apprenticeship" 
under which, by the Emancipation Act, Negro slavery was 
perpetuated in a modified form. Joseph Sturge was a prominent 
figure in the emancipation struggle. After 1833 Sturge took the 
lead in England in protest against the apprenticeship system. 
With the abolitionist Gurney he sailed to the West Indies in 
1836 "with the benevolent idea of making personal inquiries as 
to the state of the Negro population, in the hope of obtaining 
further amelioration of their condition." His safe return the fol- 
lowing year was celebrated by a public breakfast in his honor 
at the Town Hall, in appreciation of "his unwearied philan- 
thropic exertions in the cause of negro emancipation." 29 This 
was nineteenth century and no longer eighteenth century Bir- 
mingham, and yet another vested interest had turned against the 
colonial system. 


With Birmingham may profitably be considered Sheffield, the 
center of the steel industry. Sheffield's interest in the colonial 
system had at most been slight; "with no vested interest in the 
maintenance of colonial slavery, (it) offered a favourable field 
for the abolitionist." Sheffield, like Manchester, Birmingham and 
other centers of industry, was unrepresented in Parliament be- 
fore 1832. It formed a part of the county of York whose repre- 
sentative was first Wilberforce and then Brougham both out- 
standing abolitionists. "I am an advocate for the abolition of 
West Indian slavery," campaigned Brougham in the town in 
1830, "and both root and branch I will tear it up. I have loos- 
ened it already, and if you will assist me, I will brandish it over 
your heads." 30 

Some part of Sheffield's assistance can be attributed to its in- 
terest in the East. In 1825 the abolitionists began a boycott of 
West Indian produce and urged the consumption, instead, of 
the sugar and rum of India. Sheffield was the center of this 
movement. An auxiliary society was formed in the same year 
for the relief of the Negro slaves. The committee organized a 
thorough campaign in the town. Each member took two streets 
in order to make a canvass as to the practicability of inducing 
housekeepers to adopt the use of East India produce. The com- 
mittee estimated that for every six families who used East India 
sugar one slave less was required in the West Indies obviously 
a far-fetched argument, but any stick was good enough for 
beating the West Indians, so long as the West Indians were 
beaten. "Surely," the committee urged their fellow townsmen, 
"to release a fellow-creature from the state of cruel bondage and 
misery, by so small a sacrifice, is worthy the attention of all." 
Sheffield rose to the occasion: the sale of East India sugar 
doubled in six months. 31 

In May, 1833, the Anti-Slavery Society of the town for- 
warded a memorial to the Prime Minister urging immediate 
rather than gradual emancipation. 32 To the end it protested 
against compensation to the slave owners and the apprentice- 
ship scheme, and Sheffield, like Birmingham, voted ultimately 
for terminating the apprenticeship in the shortest possible 
time, 33 



The woolen industry, too, joined the chorus of opposition. 
Wilberforce and Brougham spoke, not only for the humanitar- 
ians, but also for the woolen centers. Was the House, asked Mr. 
Strickland for Yorkshire in 1833, to take freedom of commerce 
and the extension of the employment of capital as the rule in 
legislating, or was it to increase monopolies by restrictions? He 
gave the answer himself: all monopolies ought to be removed, 
as destructive to the progress, of commerce. 34 

John Bright in cotton, Samuel Garbett in iron. These were 
mighty names, to be joined by one mightier still, speaking for 
the woolen industry Richard Cobden. On the question of the 
West Indian monopoly the evangelist of free trade and the 
leader of the Anti-Corn Law League spoke with a vigor, a logic 
and a popular support that were irresistible. 

The West Indians' claim to the monopoly was, in principle, 
an audacity. There was a time, thundered Cobden, resurrecting 
the shades of the Long Parliament and Charles I, when no mem- 
ber would have dared to rise in Parliament to make a claim on 
the ground of a monopoly. 35 Men of business would calculate 
the cost, and could not be expected to be satisfied if they found 
themselves paying half as much in expenses as the whole value 
of the colonial trade. 36 If Britain had made a present to the 
planters of her exports, in return for free trade with Brazil and 
Cuba, she would actually have gained. 37 Then what sort of 
trade was this? "It was precisely as if a shopkeeper should give, 
with every pound's worth of goods, half a sovereign to his 
customer." The House of Commons conducted business with 
less wisdom than was required for the successful management 
of a chandler's shop. 38 

On the argument that the differential duty in favor of West 
Indian sugar was intended to prohibit the consumption of slave- 
grown sugar Cobden poured withering scorn. What right had 
a people who were the largest distributors of textiles to go to 
Brazil with their ships full of cotton goods manufactured from 
slave-grown material, and then turn up the whites of their eyes, 
shed crocodile tears over the slaves and refuse to take slave- 


grown sugar in return? 39 The situation was farcical, and Cob- 
den wrote a skit on it in the form of an imaginary interview at 
the Board of Trade between Lord Ripon and the Brazilian Am- 
bassador. The Ambassador taunts the embarrassed Lord Ripon: 
"No religious scruples against sending slave-grown cottons into 
every country in the world? No religious scruples against eat- 
ing slave-grown rice? No religious scruples against smoking 
slave-grown tobacco? No religious scruples against taking slave- 
grown snuff?. . . . Am I to understand that the religious scruples 
of the English people are confined to the article of sugar?" 
Ripon, obviously uncomfortable, reiterates his inability to take 
Brazilian sugar, and pleads, in defence, the promptings of the 
Anti-Slavery Party led by Joseph Sturge. At this moment in 
walks Sturge, with a cotton cravat, a hat lined with calico, a 
coat sewn with cotton thread, pockets well lined with slave 
wrought gold and sliver. The two diplomats burst into 
laughter. 40 

Logic, if not humanity, was on Cobden's side. So was the 
Anti-Slavery Party. That party, he boasted with justice, had 
had its strength and headquarters in the industrial towns, and 
was now in the ranks of the Corn Law repealers. 41 He and they 
spoke with one voice. "I am the representative of the woollen 
industry," he asserted in 1848, "an indigenous industry, of 
which there is no jealousy in this House. ... I am the repre- 
sentative of a county which was eminent in the slavery move- 
ment. . . . Now, I unhesitatingly assert that nearly all the men 
who led the agitation for the emancipation of the slaves, and 
who by their influence on public opinion aided in producing 
that result, are against those hon. Gentlemen in this House who 
advocate a differential duty on foreign sugar with a view to 
put down slavery abroad." 42 


Perhaps the most bitter fact for the West Indians was that 
Liverpool, too, turned and bit the hand that had fed it. In 1807 
there were still seventy-two slave traders in the town, and it 
was from Liverpool that the last of the English slave traders, 


Captain Hugh Crow, sailed just before the abolition bill became 
effective. 43 But if Tarleton continued his opposition in Parlia- 
ment to so necessary a measure as the abolition of the British 
slave trade to the foreign sugar colonies, 44 in 1807 Liverpool 
was also represented by William Roscoe, whose anti-slavery 
sentiments have already been noticed. 

Whilst Liverpool still carried on the slave trade in 1807, the 
slave trade had become less vital to the port's existence. In 1 792 
one out of every twelve ships belonging to the port was engaged 
in the slave trade; in 1807 one out of every twenty-four. 45 In 
1772, when 101 Liverpool ships were engaged in the slave trade, 
the dock duties were 4,552; in 1779, when, as a result of the 
American Revolution, only eleven ships sailed from Liverpool 
to Africa, the dock duties were 4,957. 46 In 1824 they were 
i3o,ooo. 47 Clearly abolition could not ruin Liverpool. As 
Roscoe stated, the inhabitants of the town were not unanimous 
in opposing abolition, and to those who would be affected by 
the measure, he held out the enticing prospect of a trade with 
India by pleading that the abrogation of the East India Com- 
pany's monopoly would be compensation for any loss which 
the abolition of the slave trade might inflict on British mer- 
chants. 48 

But if Liverpool turned against the slave trade, it still retained 
its interest in slavery. It was no longer, however, West 
Indian slavery but American, no longer sugar but cotton. The 
American cotton trade became the most important single trade 
of Liverpool. In 1802 half of Britain's cotton imports came 
through Liverpool, in 1812 two-thirds, in 1833 nine-tenths. 49 
Liverpool had built up Manchester in the eighteenth century; 
Manchester blazed the trail in the nineteenth and Liverpool 
trudged obediently behind. In the age of mercantilism Man- 
chester was Liverpool's hinterland, in the age of laissez faire 
Liverpool was Manchester's suburb. 

Liverpool followed the free-trade lead given by the cotton 
capital. Among its representatives after 1807 it selected Canning 
and Huskisson, men who spoke the language of free trade, if 
in somewhat subdued tones. Exclusive privileges, said Huskisson 
in 1830, were out of fashion, 50 thereby earning the magnificent 


service of plate the town had bestowed on him as a "testimony 
of (her) sense of the benefits derived to the nation at large 
from the enlightened system of commercial policy brought 
forward by him as President of the Board of Trade." 51 Any 
minister, said its new representative Ewart in 1833, thinking of 
Manchester's goods, who should continue to impose fetters on 
British commerce deserved to be impeached. 52 The merchants 
and shipowners of the town petitioned Parliament in the same 
year, praying that the exclusive colonial monopoly of the 
home market be considered. 53 There was a powerful Brazilian 
Association in the town, emphasizing that, as a result of the 
West Indian monopoly, more than two millions of British capi- 
tal were forced into other channels, giving employment to for- 
eign shipping and paying to foreigners freights, commissions 
and charges, to the great loss of British shipowners. 54 The 
merchants and shipowners of Liverpool expressed the hope that 
while Parliament was legislating for the benefit of slaves in 
distant colonies, it would also consider the present condition 
and future welfare of the laboring population at home. 55 

In Glasgow, too, the West Indians lost another friend. The 
days of Macdowall and the sugar heiresses were over. The 
change can be symbolized in the vicissitudes of one Glasgow 
family. In the eighteenth century a humble citizen of the town, 
Richard Oswald, migrated to London. There, through a for- 
tunate marriage with an heiress of great sugar plantations, he 
made his fortune. 56 He was for years a large dealer in slaves, 
owning his own factory on Bence Island in the mouth of the 
Sierra Leone River. 57 The wealth eventually passed to James 
Oswald, Glasgow's first representative in the Reformed Parlia- 
ment. In 1833 Oswald presented a petition, bearing the signa- 
tures of many respectable men, praying for a reduction of the 
excessive duties levied on Brazilian sugar imported for refining. 58 


In the nineteenth century no less than in the eighteenth 
Britain's ambitious plan was to become the sugar emporium of 
the world, to sweeten the world's tea and coffee as the Indus- 


trial Revolution had permitted her to clothe the world. This 
world view was in conflict not only with the declining impor- 
tance of West Indian production relative to world production, 
but also with the persistent determination of the West Indian 
planters to restrict their cultivation in order to maintain 
monopoly prices. 

The slave insurrection in Saint Domingue sent the prices of 
sugar in the European market spiralling. Prices rose by fifty 
per cent between September, 1788, and April, I793. 69 The 
sugar refiners of England sent a petition to Parliament in 1792. 
They were no longer as modest as they had been forty years 
before. They blamed the evils of the West Indian monopoly, 
pointed to "the decay of their once flourishing manufactory," 
prayed for the admission of foreign sugar in British ships at 
higher duties, and demanded the equalization of the duties on 
East and British West Indian sugar. 00 Sabotage had begun, right 
in the West Indian planter's backyard. Public opinion unjustly 
blamed the refiners for the high prices. 61 But a committee set 
up at a public meeting to consider means of reducing the price 
of sugar exonerated the refiners and advocated the admission of 
East India sugar on equal terms as "an act of justice." 62 

The Indian question, as we have seen, was sidetracked when 
the rich Saint Domingan plum was dangled before the eyes of 
the British Government. But the issue was revived in the 1820*5, 
when India needed to export some raw material with which to 
pay for British manufactures. Competition with American cot- 
ton was impossible, 63 so Indian traders, it was urged, had to 
choose between sugar and the sands of the Ganges. 64 The East 
Indians spoke free trade but their real aim was to share the 
West Indian monopoly of the home market. Here they and 
the refiners parted company. As Ricardo put it: "No exclusive 
protection should be granted to either the East or the West 
Indies, and we should be free to import our sugar from any 
quarter whatever. No possible injury could arise from this." 65 

The situation of the sugar refiners in 1831 was desperate. 
The West Indians had a monopoly of the home market. Indian 
sugar could be imported only at excessive duties, except for re- 
export. Annual acts were passed by Parliament permitting the 


importation of Brazilian and Cuban sugar solely for refining and 
re-exportation. This was clearly unsatisfactory. There was a 
large capital invested in the sugar refining industry, estimated 
at between three and four millions in i83i. 66 As a result of the 
prohibition of all but British West Indian sugar the industry 
was on the verge of ruin. The higher costs of British West 
Indian sugar meant that continental refiners were displacing the 
British in all the European markets. In 1830 there were 224 
pans at work in London; in 1833 less than one-third that num- 
ber. Two-thirds of the sugar refining trade in the entire country 
was at a complete standstill. 67 

Were the West Indian interests, asked John Wood for the 
sugar refiners of Preston, alone to be regarded? 68 Would Parlia- 
ment, "to gratify monopolists, consent to ruin our future re- 
sources"? 69 Britain, said Huskisson of the Board of Trade, 
might be made the entrepot of the sugar of the world, and 
might thereby give employment to her idle men and idle capital 
in refining that sugar for the markets of Europe. Indeed, he 
knew of no channel in which capital might be more beneficially 
employed than in sugar refining. 70 Relief from the West Indian 
monopoly, said William Clay for the sugar refining district of 
the Tower Hamlets, "would be cheaply purchased by granting 
the West India proprietors the full amount of the compensa- 
tion proposed." 71 

This was going too fast for a government still dominated, in 
1832, by the landed aristocracy and therefore sympathetic to its 
colonial brethren. The government adopted a temporary com- 
promise. In return for emancipation, the right of the West 
Indians to the monopoly of the home market was confirmed, 
whilst the unrestricted importation of foreign sugar was per- 
mitted but only for refining and export to Europe. 

The situation was fantastic. The explanation offered was that 
Brazilian and Cuban sugar was slave-grown. But so were Amer- 
ican cotton and Brazilian coffee. If the same restrictions had 
been applied to foreign cotton as were applied to foreign sugar, 
what would have become of Britain's industrial pre-eminence 
in the world? The distinction between free-grown and slave- 
grown products was a principle for individual agency, not a 


rule which could direct international commerce. 72 The capital- 
ists wanted only cheap sugar. They could see only one thing, 
that it was "monstrous" to have to depend for their supply on 
sugar produced at a monopoly price. 73 They could not, as 
Lord Lansdowne put it, try things by a special thermometer, 
which rose to boiling point on Cuban sugar, and sank to a 
most agreeable temperature on Carolina cotton. 74 


The West Indians had always pointed, in justification of their 
system, to their contribution to the naval supremacy of Eng- 
land. Thanks to the researches of Clarkson, England learned 
the price she had to pay for this contribution. Bearding the lion 
in his den, Clarkson, at much personal risk, roamed the docks 
of Liverpool, Bristol and London, questioned seamen, examined 
muster rolls and collected evidence which was a terrific indict- 
ment of the effects of the slave trade, not now upon the blacks, 
but upon the whites. 

According to Clarkson, the proportion of deaths in the slave 
trade compared to those in the Newfoundland trade was as 
twenty to one. 75 Wilberforce estimated the annual losses at 
one-fourth of the sailors. 70 From the muster rolls of Liverpool 
and Bristol he showed Parliament that on 350 slave vessels, with 
12,263 seamen, there were 2,643 deaths twenty-one and a half 
per cent in twelve months, whereas of 462 ships engaged in 
the West Indian trade, with 7,640 seamen there were only 1 18 
deaths in seven months or less than three per cent annually. 77 
William Smith exploded the fallacy that the slave trade was 
responsible for introducing many "landsmen" to the marine. 
The proportion of the landsmen, from the Bristol muster rolls, 
was one-twelfth; in Liverpool it was one-sixteenth. 78 Accord- 
ing to Lord Howick, the losses among seamen in the slave 
trade were eight times the losses in the West Indian trade, and 
the former was unique in the readiness with which men deserted 
it on their arrival in the West Indies for the King's ships. 79 
The Abolition Committee declared that the mortality in the 
slave trade was more than double that of all the other branches 
of commerce in the kingdom. 80 John Newton, an authority on 


the subject, spoke of the "truly alarming" loss in the slave 
trade. 81 Ramsay summed up the general feeling: "It forms not 
but destroys seamen. And this destruction of seamen is a strong 
argument for the abolition of it. If we have any regard to the 
lives of seamen, we ought to abandon a branch of trade which 
dissipates the men in so unprofitable a manner." 82 

By 1807 the shipowners' interest in the slave trade had de- 
clined considerably. On the average of ten years preceding 
1 800 the capital invested in the slave trade was less than five per 
cent of the total export trade of the country; in 1 807 it was one 
and a quarter per cent. In 1 805 two per cent of British export 
tonnage, excluding Ireland and the coastal trade, was employed 
in the slave trade, only four per cent of the seamen engaged 
in general trade. 83 

The shipowners, too, began to find the West Indian monop- 
oly irksome. They were promised that equalization of the duties 
on East India sugar would give employment to forty per cent 
more shipping. 84 British shipping engaged in the trade to India 
increased four times between 1812 and 1828, and Huskisson 
admitted that the difficulty was to find returns from India. 85 

The shipowners were equally alive to the value of Brazilian 
sugar. Poulett Thomson of the Board of Trade emphasized that 
the importation of foreign sugar for refining was most beneficial 
to the interests of the British shipowners. 86 According to Ewart, 
such an importation would furnish freight for 120,000 tons of 
shipping annually from Brazil alone, while Santo Domingo 
(Spanish), Cuba, Manila and Singapore would provide cargoes 
for a further 200,000 tons. 87 Mark Philips told the House a 
piteous tale of vessels returning from Brazil empty in 1832 
fifty-one vessels sailed from Liverpool to Rio de Janeiro, not 
one of which could get a return cargo home. 88 According to 
William Clay, of four British vessels which had sailed monthly 
from Liverpool to Brazil in 1832, not one had returned with 
the produce with which their cargoes had been purchased. 89 

The shipowners were all for free trade, but only when some- 
one else's monopoly was involved. In 1825 the Navigation Laws 
were modified. The British West Indies were given permission 
to trade with every part of the world. This was the thin edge 


of the wedge. In 1848 the Navigation Laws, the very heart 
and core of the colonial system, were swept away by the full 
tide of laissez fake as the lumber of former times. Ricardo 
ridiculed the roundabout and expensive way whereby ex- 
changes of produce were carried on. He quoted one instance 
where American hides were taken from Marseilles to Rotterdam. 
Not finding a market, they were taken back to Marseilles, 
whence they were sent to Liverpool. At Liverpool they were 
seized on the ground that they were imported in a French 
vessel, and released only on the condition that they should 
be sent back to New York. The Spaniard, Ricardo continued, 
was not permitted by the English Navigation Laws to take 
in a cargo of sugar at Cuba for delivery to a French port, 
where he would take in wine for England. In England he 
would be met by a custom house officer, who would tell him 
that he could not land his cargo. "Why?" the Spaniard would 
inquire. "I understood you wanted wine." "So we do," the 
officer would reply. Then the Spaniard would say, "I will ex- 
change my wine for your earthenware." "That will not do," 
replies the officer. "It must be brought by Frenchmen on a 
French ship." "But the French do not want your earthenware." 
"We cannot help that," the officer replies. "We must not let 
you violate our Navigation Laws." If the Spaniards wanted 
earthenware, concluded Ricardo, the French sugar, and the 
English wine, "why on earth should we forbid the natural 
course of the transaction? " M 

The shipowners would have none of it. They had voted 
against the monopoly of corn and the monopoly of sugar but 
would not relinquish the monopoly of shipping. Where corn 
and sugar were on the run, shipping could enjoy no immunity. 
In 1848 the Navigation Laws were repealed. The final nail was 
driven into the coffin of mercantilism when Ricardo advised 
the advocates of the "long voyage" to sail their cargo three 
times round the British Isles. 91 

IO - 




THE CAPITALISTS had first encouraged West Indian slavery 
and then helped to destroy it. When British capitalism de- 
pended on the West Indies, they ignored slavery or defended 
it. When British capitalism found the West Indian monopoly 
a nuisance, they destroyed West Indian slavery as the first step 
in the destruction of West Indian monopoly. That slavery to 
them was relative not absolute, and depended on latitude and 
longitude, is proved after 1833 by their attitude to slavery in 
Cuba, Brazil and the United States. They taunted their oppo- 
nents with seeing slavery only where they saw sugar and 
limiting their observation to the circumference of a hogshead. 1 
They refused to frame their tariff on grounds of morality, 
erect a pulpit in every custom house, and make their landing- 
waiters enforce anti-slavery doctrines. 2 

Before and after 1815 the British government tried to bribe 
the Spanish and Portuguese governments into abolition of the 
slave trade in 1818 Spain was given 400,000 in return for a 
promise to do so. All to no avail. The treaties were treated as 
scraps of paper, as abolition would have ruined Cuba and 
Brazil. The British government, therefore, urged on by the 
West Indians, decided to adopt more drastic measures. Wel- 
lington was sent to the international conference at Verona to 



propose that the Continental Powers boycott the produce of 
countries still engaged in the slave trade. If he were met with 
the inquiry, whether Britain was similarly prepared to exclude 
the produce of slave-trading countries imported not for con- 
sumption but in transit, he was to express his readiness to refer 
that proposition for immediate consideration to his govern- 
ment. 3 These instructions did little justice to the perspicacity 
of the Continental statesmen. Wellington's proposal was re- 
ceived in silence, and he observed "those symptoms of dis- 
approbation and dissent which convince me not only that it 
will not be adopted, but that the suggestion of it is attributed 
to interested motives not connected with the humane desire 
of abolishing the slave trade!" 4 As Canning reported to his 
cabinet: "The proposed refusal to admit Brazilian sugar into 
the dominions of the Emperors* and the King of Prussia was 
met (as might be expected) with a smile; which indicated on 
the part of the continental statesmen a suspicion that there might 
be something of self-interest in our suggestion for excluding 
the produce of rival colonies from competition with our own, 
and their surprise that we should consent to be the carriers of 
the produce which we would fain dissuade them from con- 
suming." 5 

It was clearly what a member of Parliament was later to call 
"lucrative humanity." 6 The independence of Brazil gave Can- 
ning a better opportunity. Recognition in return for abolition. 7 
But there was a danger that France would recognize Brazil on 
condition that the slave trade be continued. 8 What then of the 
British carrying trade and British exports? "There are immense 
British interests engaged in the trade with Brazil," Canning re- 
minded Wilberforce, "and we must proceed with caution and 
good heed; and take the commercial as well as moral feelings 
of the country with us." 9 Morality or profit? Britain had to 
choose. "You argue," wrote Canning candidly to Wilberforce, 
"against the acknowledgment of Brazil unpurged of Slave 
Trade . . . you are surprised that the Duke of Wellington has 
not been instructed to say that he will give up the trade with 

*Of Russia and Austria-Hungary. 


Brazil, (for that is, I am afraid, the amount of giving up the 
import and re-export of the sugar and cotton), if Austria, 
Russia and Prussia will prohibit her produce. In fair reasoning, 
you have a right to be surprised, for we ought to be ready to 
make sacrifices when we ask them, and I am for making them; 
but who would dare to promise such a one as this without a 
full knowledge of the opinions of the commercial part of the 
nation?" 10 

The commercial part of the nation did not leave Canning 
long in doubt. A bill had already been presented in Parliament 
in 1 8 1 5 to proscribe the slave trade as an investment for British 
capital. Baring, of the great banking house which was to have 
such intimate relations with independent Spanish America, is- 
sued a solemn warning that every commercial organization in 
Britain would petition against it, 11 and the House of Lords 
threw it out. 12 In 1824 one hundred and seventeen merchants 
of London petitioned for the recognition of the independence 
of South America the petitioners were, in a word, the city 
of London. 13 The President, Vice-President and members of 
the Chamber of Commerce of Manchester declared that the 
opening of the South American market to British industry 
would be an event which must produce the most beneficial re- 
sults to British commerce. 14 British capitalism could no longer 
be content with smuggling. 

This South American market, Brazil in particular, was based 
on slave labor and required the slave trade. The British capital- 
ists, therefore, began a vigorous campaign against their govern- 
ment's policy of forcible suppression of the slave trade by 
stationing warships on the African coast. The policy was ex- 
pensive, exceeding the annual value of the total trade with 
Africa. African exports were 154,000 in 1824; imports i 18,000 
in British goods and 119,000 in foreign. This was the great 
extent of commerce, said Hume, for which the country was to 
make such a vast sacrifice of human life on the deadly slave 
coast. 15 Humanity for English sailors demanded its abandon- 
ment. If some abolitionists were suffering from a humane 
delusion, why should they be allowed to delude the English 
Parliament? 16 The British people could not afford to become 


purchasers on such extravagant terms of indulgences for 
Africa. 17 

All this was before 1833, contemporaneous with the capitalist 
attacks on West Indian slavery. After 1833 the capitalists were 
still involved in the slave trade itself. British goods, from Man- 
chester and Liverpool, cottons, fetters and shackles, were sent 
direct to the coast of Africa or indirectly to Rio de Janeiro and 
Havana, where they were used by their Cuban and Brazilian 
consignees for the purpose of purchasing slaves. 18 It was said 
that seven-tenths of the goods used by Brazil for slave pur- 
chases were British manufactures, 19 and it was whispered that 
the British were reluctant to destroy the barracoons on the 
coast because they would thereby destroy British calicoes. 20 
In 1845 Peel refused to deny the fact that British subjects 
were engaged in the slave trade. 21 The Liverpool representa- 
tive in Parliament, questioned point blank, was not prepared 
to contradict that Liverpool exports to Africa or elsewhere 
were appropriated to "some improper purpose." 22 British bank- 
ing firms in Brazil financed the slave traders and insured their 
cargoes, thereby earning the goodwill of their hosts. British 
mining companies owned and purchased slaves whose labor 
they employed in their enterprises. "We must needs adopt the 
painful conclusion," said Brougham with reference to Cuban 
and Brazilian development, "that in great part at least such an 
ample amount of capital as was required, must have belonged 
to the rich men of this country." 23 John Bright was well aware 
of the interests of his Lancashire constituents when he argued 
eloquently in 1843 against a bill prohibiting the employment 
of British capital, however indirectly, in the slave trade on the 
ground that it would be a dead letter, and that the matter should 
be left to the honorable and moral feelings of individuals. 24 
In that very year, British firms handled three-eighths of the 
sugar, one-half of the coffee, five-eighths of the cotton ex- 
ported from Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro and Bahia. 25 

The capitalists had had enough of Britain's "noble experi- 
ment." Commerce was the great emancipator. 26 The only way 
to put down slavery was to trust to the eternal and just prin- 
ciples of free trade. 27 Leave the slave trade alone, it would 


commit suicide. If the miscreants of any nation chose to engage 
in it, their guilt be upon their own heads; leave to a higher 
tribunal the moral government of the world. 28 The money 
expended in fruitless efforts to suppress the slave trade could 
be more beneficially and philosophically employed at home. 29 
Bright criticized as audacity the idea that justice to Africa 
should be done at the expense of injustice to England. 30 They 
had a great deal to do at home, argued Cobden, within a stone's 
throw of the Houses of Parliament, before they embarked on 
a scheme of redeeming from barbarism the whole of Africa. 81 
The activities of the British squadron on the African coast were 
described as buccaneering expeditions, 32 which weeded Eng- 
land annually of her best and bravest and desolated countless 
English firesides. 33 There were other occasions on which to 
devote attention to the social happiness of the world, other 
means of endeavoring to advance that happiness, and they 
should not interfere violently by fiscal regulations with the 
feelings of others. 34 Public opinion in the slave trading coun- 
tries must be won over to the cause of humanity, not alienated 
by a policy of coercion, and the Brazilians could not be ex- 
pected to travel the humanitarian road faster than the English 
had done. 35 Britain's "blundering and ignorant humanity" had 
only aggravated the sufferings of the slaves. 36 They had used, 
said Hutt, "the utmost latitude, one might say licentiousness, 
of means public money to any extent naval armaments 
watching every shore and every sea where a slave ship could 
be seen or suspected courts of special judicature in half of 
the intertropical regions of the globe diplomatic influence and 
agency such perhaps as this country never before concentrated 
on any public object." 37 Despite all this, the slave trade had 
increased. It was a wild crusade, and not all the forces of the 
British Navy, not all the resources of the British Treasury could 
suppress it. 38 They had been laboring for thirty years, and not 
even a lunatic would entertain any optimistic illusion about 
their future success. 89 Had the British government surrendered 
its reason to philanthropy? * Had it prostituted its diplomacy 
to the purposes of an unreasonable fanaticism? 41 It was curious 
to see administrations, not distinguished by devotion to con- 


stitutional liberties at home, assuming that a distant and bar- 
barous people had more claims on their conscience than their 
own countrymen. 42 The nations were disgusted with "this 
philanthropic cant." 43 These vagaries, this rash and idle sys- 
tem 44 must be abandoned, as sinster and spurious philanthropy, 45 
costly and abortive experiments, 46 which hazarded the peace 
of the world. 47 The laws of Heaven did not authorize the 
British people to keep the whole world in a pother about the 
slave trade. 48 

Where was Palmerston? The slave trade has been called 
Palmerston's "benevolent crotchet" and he emerges in our 
textbooks as the persistent opponent of the slave trade. In office 
Palmerston accomplished little. Out of office he goaded the 
government to greater efforts to accomplish what he had failed 
to do. A simple motion for returns of the slave trade between 
1815 and 1843 was accompanied by a speech which fills over 
twenty-five columns in Hansard; a rhetorical display crowned 
by a magnificent peroration, which might have been culled 
from anti-slavery speeches of the last half-century, accom- 
panied a simple innocuous motion. 40 As if he were appealing 
to Parliament and the country for full appreciation of his 
labors in the cause, once every month he drew attention to 
those labors. 50 But when Manchester's representative empha- 
sized the difficulties which Britain's suppression policy was 
causing with the Brazilian government and deprecated armed 
interference, Palmerston spoke about France, Cuba, the Imaum 
of Muscat, everything but the Brazilian slave trade. 51 And with 
the parliamentary campaign against the suppression policy at its 
height, Palmerston contented himself with the hope that "no 
Committee will recommend a course the reverse of that which 
we have been pursuing .... no one will be found to say that 
we ought to retrace our steps." 52 They had given proof, he 
thought, of their zeal for the suppression of the slave trade, and 
if they prohibited the importation of Brazilian sugar, Brazil 
would think that they did not really believe that free labor was 
cheaper than slave. 53 In urging the Spanish claim to reciprocity, 
he warned that they would lose their trade with Spain (Cuba) 
as they were losing it with Brazil, all because of the "absurd 


tariff and mischievous policy" of the government. "They have 
sacrificed the commercial interests of the country in the Brazil- 
ian trade, in the Spanish trade, and I fear, also in other quarters 
about to follow, and all for the purpose of maintaining a 
favourite crotchet, based upon hypocritical pretences." 64 The 
"last candle of the nineteenth century" had been snuffed out. 

Disraeli, too, condemned the suppression of the slave trade 
on grounds of economy and as questionable policy which in- 
volved Britain in difficulties in every court and in every 
colony. 55 Wellington called it criminal "a breach of the law 
of nations a breach of treaties." 56 Even Gladstone was forced 
to choose between the needs of the British capitalists and the 
needs of the West Indian planters. In 1841 he was all for sup- 
pression, and asked the capitalists whether, for small and paltry 
pecuniary advantages, they were prepared to forgo the high 
title and noble character they had earned before the whole 
world. Were they dragging every inconsistency into the light 
for the purpose of using it as a plea for further and more 
monstrous inconsistency, or in order to substitute a uniformity 
in wrong for an inconsistent acknowledgment of what was 
right? 57 In 1850, however, he condemned the policy of sup- 
pression as anomalous and preposterous. "It is not an ordinance 
of Providence that the government of one nation shall correct 
the morals of another." 58 

Ironically enough, it was the former slave owners of the 
West Indies who now held the humanitarian torch. Those 
who, in 1807, were lugubriously prophesying that abolition of 
the British slave trade would "occasion diminished commerce, 
diminished revenue and diminished navigation; and in the end 
sap and totally remove the great cornerstone of British pros- 
perity," 59 were, after 1807, the very men who protested against 
"a system of man-stealing against a poor and inoffensive peo- 
ple." 60 Barham, a West Indian, introduced the bill of 1815 to 
make penal the employment of British capital in the foreign 
slave trade, and even to make the insurance of ships in the slave 
trade criminal. 61 Among the remedies suggested by the West 
India interest in 1830 to meet the increasing distress of the 
colonies was a resolution "to adopt more decisive measures than 


any that have hitherto been employed to stop the foreign slave 
trade; on the effectual suppression of which the prosperity of 
the British West Indian colonies . . . ultimately depend (s)." 62 
Jamaican envoys, sent to Britain in 1832, declared that "the 
colonies were easily reconciled to the abolition of a barbarous 
commerce, which the advanced civilization of the age no longer 
permitted to exist; but they have thought, and apparently with 
reason, that the philanthropists should not have been satisfied 
with the extinction of the British trade." 63 A great mass move- 
ment for abolition of the slave trade developed in Jamaica in 
1849. All classes, colors, parties and sects were united on the 
question of justice to Africa. They denounced the slave trade 
and slavery as "opposed to humanity productive of the worst 
evils to Africa degrading to all engaged in the traffic, and 
inimical to the moral and spiritual interests of the enslaved," 
and pleaded that "the odious term 'slave' (be) expunged from 
the vocabulary of the universe." "SLAVERY MUST FALL, 
and, when it falls, JAMAICA WILL FLOURISH." England, 
they declared pointedly, had gone to war for less justifiable 
causes. 64 

The British capitalists, however, remained unimpressed. In 
1857 an editorial in the London Times declared: "We know 
that for all mercantile purposes England is one of the States, 
and that, in effect, we are partners with the Southern planter; 
we hold a bill of sale over his goods and chattels, his live and 
dead stock, and take a lion's share in the profits of slavery. . . . 
We fete Mrs. Stowe, cry over her book, and pray for an anti- 
slavery president . . ., but all this time we are clothing not only 
ourselves, but all the world besides, with the very cotton picked 
and cleaned by 'Uncle Tom' and his fellow-sufferers. It is our 
trade. It is the great staple of British industry. We are Mr. 
'LegreeV agents for the manufacture and sale of his cotton 
crops." 65 British capitalism had destroyed West Indian slavery, 
but it continued to thrive on Brazilian, Cuban and American 
slavery. But West Indian monopoly had gone for ever. In the 
Civil War the British government nearly recognized the Con- 
federacy. By a supreme irony it was left for the West Indian, 
Gladstone, to remind an audience in Newcastle that the Amer- 


ican Civil War had "perhaps become the most purposeless of 
all great civil wars that have ever been waged," and that "there 
is no doubt that Jefferson Davis and other leaders of the South 
have made an army; they are making, it appears, a navy; and 
they have made what is more than either, they have made a 
nation." 66 



THIS STUDY has deliberately subordinated the inhumanity of 
the slave system and the humanitarianism which destroyed that 
system. To disregard it completely, however, would be to com- 
mit a grave historical error and to ignore one of the greatest 
propaganda movements of all time. The humanitarians were the 
spearhead of the onslaught which destroyed the West Indian 
system and freed the Negro. But their importance has been 
seriously misunderstood and grossly exaggerated by men who 
have sacrificed scholarship to sentimentality and, like the 
scholastics of old, placed faith before reason and evidence. 
Professor Coupland, in an imaginary interview with Wilber- 
force, asks him: "What do you think, sir, is the primary sig- 
nificance of your work, the lesson of the abolition of the slave 
system?" The instant answer is: "It was God's work. It signifies 
the triumph of His will over human selfishness. It teaches that 
no obstacle of interest or prejudice is irremovable by faith and 
prayer." l 

This misunderstanding springs, in part, from a deliberate 
attempt by contemporaries to present a distorted view of the 
abolitionist movement. When the slave trade was abolished in 
1 807, the bill included a phrase to the effect that the trade was 
"contrary to the principles of justice, humanity and sound 
policy." Lord Hawkesbury objected; in his opinion the words 
"justice and humanity" reflected on the slave traders. He there- 
fore moved an amendment excluding those words. In so doing 
he confined the necessity of abolition solely to expediency. 


The Lord Chancellor protested. The amendment would take 
away the only ground on which the other powers could be 
asked to co-operate in abolition. The Earl of Lauderdale de- 
clared that the words omitted were the most essential in the bill. 
The omission would lend color to the suspicion in France that 
British abolition was dictated by the selfish motive that her 
colonies were Well-stocked with Negroes. "How, in thus being 
supposed to make no sacrifice ourselves, could we call with any 
effect upon foreign powers to co-operate in the abolition?" 
The Lords voted for the original version. 2 

The British humanitarians were a brilliant band. Clarkson 
personifies all the best in the humanitarianism of the age. One 
can appreciate even today his feelings when, in ruminating 
upon the subject of his prize- winning essay, he first awoke to 
the realization of the enormous injustice of slavery. Clarkson 
was an indefatigable worker, who conducted endless and dan- 
gerous researches into the conditions and consequences of the 
slave trade, a prolific pamphleteer whose history of the abolition 
movement is still a classic. His labors in the cause of justice to 
Africa were accomplished only at the cost of much personal 
discomfort, and imposed a severe strain on his scanty resources. 
In 1793 he wrote a letter to Josiah Wedgwood which contains 
some of the finest sentiments that motivated the humanitarians. 
He needed money and wished to sell two of his shares in the 
Sierra Leone Company, founded in 1791 to promote legitimate 
commerce with Africa. "But," he pointed out, "I should not 
chuse to permit anyone to become a purchaser, who would 
not be better pleased with the good resulting to Africa than 
from great commercial profits to himself; not that the latter 
may not be expected, but in case of a disappointment, I should 
wish his mind to be made easy by the assurance that he has 
been instrumental in introducing light and happiness into a 
country, where the mind was kept in darkness and the body 
nourished only for European chains." 3 Too impetuous and 
enthusiastic for some of his colleagues, 4 Clarkson was one of 
those friends of whom the Negro race has had unfortunately 
only too few. 


Then there were James Stephen, the father, and James 
Stephen, the son. The father had been a lawyer in the West 
Indies and knew conditions at first hand. The son became the 
first outstanding permanent under-secretary of the Colonial 
Office, the "Oversecretary Stephen" and "Mr. Mother Coun- 
try" of unfriendly jibes. In this capacity he held a watching 
brief for his helpless constituents, the Negro slaves. He was 
constantly spurring on Wilberforce to greater and more public 
efforts instead of the policy of memorials and interviews with 
ministers. The only thing to check colonial crimes was to 
"blazon them to the English public, and arm ourselves with 
public indignation." 5 Stephen was not impressed with the 
planter's arguments. "The deprivation of a mansion or an 
epuipage painful though it may be is hardly to be set against 
the protracted exclusion from those common advantages of 
human life under which from the admitted facts of the case 
the slaves are proved to be labouring. . . , 6 The ultimate end 
of human society the security of life, property and reputa- 
tion must be preferred to its subordinate ends the enjoyment 
of particular franchises." 7 It was trusteeship in its noblest form 
and finest language. Stephen drafted the Emancipation Bill, 
which included concessions he was loth to make to the planters. 
Where the others sat back and congratulated themselves, the 
permanent under-secretary continued to watch colonial legis- 
lation with jealousy and distrust. "Popular franchises in the 
hands of the masters of a great body of slaves," he wrote in 
1841, "were the worst instruments of tyranny which were 
ever yet forged for the oppression of mankind." 8 In those days 
and under such an administrator Crown Colony government 
was a notable step in the protection of weaker peoples. 

One of the earliest, ablest and most diligent of the abolitionists 
was James Ramsay, who, as a rector in the West Indies, had 
had some twenty years' experience of slavery. "The only use," 
he wrote to Wilberforce in 1787, "I can be of in the business is 
as a pioneer to remove obstacles; use me in this way and I shall 
be happy." 9 He knew from experience the heavy mortality oc- 
casioned by the slave trade among the white sailors; he could 
speak at first hand of the heavy mortality occasioned among 


the slaves by excessive toil on the plantations. 10 The planters 
pursued him with a relentlessness reserved for him alone. 
"Ramsay is dead," boasted one of them, "I have killed him." 

Besides these men Wilberforce with his effeminate face ap- 
pears small in stature. There is a certain smugness about the 
man, his life, his religion. As a leader, he was inept, addicted 
to moderation, compromise and delay. He deprecated extreme 
measures and feared popular agitation. He relied for success 
upon aristocratic patronage, parliamentary diplomacy and pri- 
vate influence with men in office. 11 He was a lobbyist, and it 
was a common saying that his vote could safely be predicted, 
for it was certain to be opposed to his speech. 12 "Generally," 
said Tierney, "his phraseology is adapted to suit either party; 
and if, now and then, he loses the balance of his argument and 
bends a little to one side, he quickly recovers himself and 
deviates as much in an opposite direction as will make a fair 
division of his speech on both sides of the question." 1S But he 
was a persuasive and eloquent speaker, with a melodious voice 
which earned him the sobriquet of "the nightingale of the 
House." Above all he had the reputation of being otherworld- 
minded, and it is certain that this reputation for saintliness and 
his disinterestedness in the cause were powerful factors in 
Pitt's prodding that he should lead the parliamentary crusade. 

These were the men whom the planters called visionaries 
and fanatics, and likened to hyenas and tigers. 14 With the aid 
of the others, Macaulay, Wesley, Thornton and Brougham, 
they were successful in raising anti-slavery sentiments almost 
to the status of a religion in England, and these religious re- 
formers who made Clapham into more than a railway junction 
were not inappropriately nicknamed "the Saints." The very 
emotionalism which such a phenomenon arouses calls for 
greater caution on the part of the student of the social sciences. 
For if, as so many have held, slavery falls into the realm of 
theology, monopoly most emphatically does not. 

The abolitionists were not radicals. In their attitude to domes- 
tic problems they were reactionary. The Methodists offered 
the English worker Bibles instead of bread and Wesleyan 
capitalists exhibited open contempt for the working class. 


Wilberforce was familiar with all that went on in the hold 
of a slave ship but ignored what went on at the bottom of a 
mineshaft. He supported the Corn Laws, was a member of the 
secret committee which investigated and repressed working 
class discontent in 1817, opposed feminine anti-slavery associa- 
tions, and thought the First Reform Bill too radical. 16 

The initial error into which many have fallen is the assump- 
tion that the abolitionists, from the very outset, never con- 
cealed their intention of working for complete emancipation. 
The abolitionists for a long time eschewed and repeatedly dis- 
owned any idea of emancipation. Their interest was solely in 
the slave trade, whose abolition, they thought, would eventually 
lead, without legislative interference, into freedom. On three 
occasions the Abolition Committee explicity denied any inten- 
tion of emancipating the slaves. 16 Wilberforce in 1807 publicly 
disowned such intentions. 17 The Bishop of Rochester asserted 
that the abolitionists proceeded upon no visionary notions of 
equality and imprescriptible rights of men; they strenuously 
upheld the gradations of civil society. 18 In 1815 the African 
Institution stated clearly that it looked for emancipation from 
the slaveowners. 19 

It was not until 1823 that emancipation became the avowed 
aim of the abolitionists. The chief reason was the persecution 
of the missionaries in the colonies the death of Smith in 
Guiana, the expulsion of Shrewsbury in Barbados, the persecu- 
tion of Knibb in Jamaica. Even then emancipation was to be 
gradual. "Nothing rash," warned Buxton, "nothing rapid, noth- 
ing abrupt, nothing bearing any feature of violence." Above all, 
pas de zele. Slavery would never be abolished. "It will subside; 
it will decline; it will expire; it will, as it were, burn itself down 
into its socket and go out. . . . We shall leave it gently to decay 
slowly, silently, almost imperceptibly, to die away and to be 
forgotten." 20 As in the United States, slavery was to wither 
away. The hope was not realized in England either, though the 
West Indians were too weak and few to fight a civil war. 

This was the situation in 1830, when the July Revolution 
broke out in France and fanned the flames of parliamentary 
reform in England. The abolitionists were still lobbying and 


temporizing, sending memorials and deputations to ministers, 
while colonial slavery and colonial monopoly continued un- 
abated. "It was therefore necessary that another order of men, 
of bolder and more robust, if somewhat less refined, natures 
should now appear to take the work in hand, not so much to 
supersede as to supplement the exertions of their more wary 
and hesitating colleagues." 21 Conservatives and radicals clashed 
in a great anti-slavery meeting in May, 1830. Buxton had 
proposed the usual resolutions, "admirably worded; admirably 
indignant, but admirably prudent." Pownall rose to put his 
amendment immediate abolition. The effect on the delegates 
was electric. Buxton deprecated, Brougham interposed, Wilber- 
force waved his hand for silence, but the amendment was 
eventually put and "carried with a burst of exulting triumph." 22 
The new policy was admirably stated by one of Sturge's friends: 
"Sin will lie at our door if we do not agitate, agitate, agitate. . . . 
The people must emancipate the slaves, for the government 
never will." 23 

As far as the abolitionist leadership was concerned, however, 
their attitude to West Indian slavery must be seen in its relation 
to slavery in other parts of the world. Their condemnation of 
slavery applied only to the Negro and only to the Negro in the 
British West Indies. First, India. 

In their campaign against the West Indian planters the 
abolitionists inaugurated what Cochin has called "a sort of 
pious and silly crusade." 24 They urged their sympathisers to 
boycott slave-grown produce in favor of the free-grown 
produce of India. This crusade was recommended by the 
Abolition Committee in I795 25 and by many pamphleteers. 
William Fox in 1792 informed the British people that in every 
pound of sugar they consumed two ounces of human flesh. 26 
By an elaborate mathematical computation it was estimated 
that if one family using five pounds of sugar a week would 
abstain for twenty-one months, one Negro would be spared 
enslavement and murder. 27 The consumer of sugar was really 
"the prime mover, the grand cause of all the horrible in- 
justice" By substituting East for West Indian sugar, the 


Peckham Ladies' African Anti-Slavery Association was in- 
formed, they were undermining the system of slavery in the 
safest, easiest and most effective manner. 29 An abolitionist 
leaflet was circulated, entitled "The Negro Slave's Complaint 
to the Friends of Humanity." The Negro pleaded: "And now, 
massa, you be de friend of freedom, good man, pity poor 
Negro, me beg buy de East Sugar, no slave sugar, de free, and 
den my massa vill tink and say, ve no much sell de slave sugar, 
slaves must be no slaves, must be free, and ve pay de vages, and 
den vill vork villing and do more work, and ve den sell more 
sugar, and get more of de money. De men at de East be vise 
men, and de vise men at de East no slave make sugar free, free, 
free." 80 Not only sugar but cotton. A movement was started 
among the ladies to encourage the consumption of free-grown 
cotton, 81 which, according to Gurney, would do more to abolish 
slavery in America than all the abolitionist pamphlets. 32 As the 
Irish abolitionists put it, their aim was to "universalize the use 
of free labour tropical produce." 33 

But the wise men of the East were no more impeccable than 
the sinful planters of the West. The act emancipating the slaves 
in the British West Indies passed its third reading on August 
7, 1833. Forty-eight hours before, the East India Company's 
Charter had come up for renewal in the House of Lords. The 
bill included a clause which declared that slavery "should be 
abolished" in India. Lord Ellenborough expressed his astonish- 
ment that such a proposition should ever have entered the 
head of any statesman. Lord Auckland defended the bill: "It 
had been framed with the utmost caution consistent with the 
destruction of an odious system; as well as the utmost care 
not to interfere with the domestic manners of the natives." The 
Duke of Wellington called upon their Lordships to deal lightly 
with the question, as they valued the maintenance of British 
India. It was a violent innovation, altogether uncalled for, 
which would produce the greatest dissatisfaction, if not abso- 
lute insurrection. 34 

Repeated declarations were later made in Parliament on 
behalf of the government that the East India Company was 
preparing legislation with a view to the "amelioration" of 


slavery and that such legislation would be produced in Parlia- 
ment. But the promised legislation never was forthcoming. 
"The government of India were taking such steps to ameliorate 
the condition of slavery as, at no distant period, should lead to 
its total extinction." 35 This was in 1837. By 1841 none of the 
rules and regulations for the mitigation of slavery had been 
produced. 36 And when the question of equalizing the duties 
on East Indian rum came up and it was argued that East Indian 
rum was slave produce, Prime Minister Peel replied that "to 
postpone the equalization . . . until he had actually settled that 
abolition, would be deferring its operation to a much more dis- 
tant period than even the most ardent advocates of the West 
Indians could wish." 37 In defence of the East Indians it was 
pleaded, in 1842, that they had prohibited the selling of chil- 
dren into slavery in periods of scarcity. 38 Ten years after 
Britain's "great atonement," the Earl of Auckland would not 
deny that "some condition of servitude, more or less painful, 
might not still exist"; 39 and Peel considered that such measures 
as had been adopted "appeared well calculated to arrest the 
progress of slavery, and check abuses, and when carried out 
in all parts of India under our control or which we could in- 
fluence, would go a long way to suppress slavery." 40 

Yet this was the tropical produce that the abolitionists were 
recommending to the people of England. Clarkson called on 
them to "shew their abhorrence of the planters' system by leav- 
ing off the use of their produce," 41 and as late as 1840 was still 
looking to the East India Company to extirpate slavery "by 
means that are perfectly moral and pacific . . . namely, by the 
cultivation of the earth and by the employment of free 
labour:' 42 

The abolitionists did this not out of ignorance. As an apology 
for the East India Company, Zachary Macaulay urged that 
"they had obtained dominion over countries which had been 
previously under the Hindu and Mogul Government. They 
therefore could not be blamed if, when they came into posses- 
sion of those countries, they found principles acted upon with 
which, however adverse to their feelings, it would be unsafe to 
interfere, without due caution." 43 In 1837 Buxton expressed 


the fear that sugar would produce a system of slavery in the 
East as disgraceful as it had produced in the West. The govern- 
ment spokesman assured him it would not. Buxton "was much 
obliged ... for that assurance." 44 In 1843 Brougham was still 
looking forward with sanguine hope to the abolition of slavery 
in India, "a consummation not to be accomplished so much by 
legislation, or by doing violence to property/* as by encourag- 
ing the native slave owners to declare their children free after 
a certain date. 45 

Some of the Clapham Sect had East Indian interests and "per- 
haps their detestation of West Indian slavery was sharpened 
by a sense of the unfair discrimination of the sugar duties in 
favour of the West Indies and against the growing sugar planta- 
tions of India." 46 The Thorntons owned East India stock; 47 
one of the family participated in the debate at East India House 
in 1793 on the sugar trade, and denied the existence of any 
compact in favor of the West Indian monopoly. 48 Zachary 
Macaulay had shares in the East India Company, and was one 
of the nine signatories who summoned the meeting of the 
Court of Proprietors in 1823 to discuss the sugar question. 49 
In a powerful pamphlet in 1823 he declared that the West 
Indians "have no more right to claim the continuance of a 
protecting duty on sugar, to the manifest wrong of India and 
of Great Britain, than they had before a right to claim the con- 
tinuance of the Slave Trade, to the manifest wrong of Africa." 50 
Macaulay's speech in the debate at East India House on the 
sugar trade in 1823 was such a diatribe against slavery that a 
subsequent speaker had to remind him that "if the slave trade 
were ten times worse than it had been stated to be, they were 
not met to consider that question." 51 

More important than Thornton or Macaulay was James 
Cropper. A prominent abolitionist, Cropper was the greatest 
importer of East India sugar into Liverpool, and was the 
founder and head of the independent East India house, Cropper, 
Benson and Company of Liverpool, with a trade of a thousand 
pounds a day. 52 Cropper was aware that his private interests 
rendered his motives liable to suspicion. 53 West Indians recalled 
that he had once imported slave-grown cotton from the United 


States. 54 Cropper's own explanation is as follows: "I saw that 
hideous monster, slavery, gasping, as it were, in the agonies of 
death, seeking for the support which could alone continue its 
existence. ... I could not suffer the fear of reproaches, on 
account of being interested, to get the better of the paramount 
feeling of humanity and duty. I durst not encounter the re- 
proaches of my own conscience." 55 In his anti-slavery argu- 
ments he refused to steer clear of commercial considerations. 
Slavery, he wrote, "can be lucrative only on fertile soils, and 
amongst a scanty population as in the new states in America, 
where two days' labour will purchase an acre of land." 66 Dis- 
cussing the abolition of slavery in F,urope, the Northern states 
of the Union and certain parts of South America, he reached 
the conclusion that the fact that emancipation had not been 
extensive where slave labor was profitable showed that "the 
efforts of benevolent men have been most successful when co- 
operating with natural causes." 57 When he wrote lyrically of 
Britain's manufacturing skill and industry, "unshackled by 
bounties, unaided by useless monopolies, thriving with un- 
restrained freedom," 58 he was thinking less of West Indian 
slavery than of West Indian monopoly. Why should Britain 
not supply the Continent with refined sugar as well as with 
manufactured cotton? 59 But when the West Indians asked him 
pointedly whether he meant to introduce Brazilian as well as 
Indian sugar, he replied that all sugar should be admitted at 
a uniform duty, on the condition that Brazil and Cuba agreed 
to abolish the slave trade. 60 What then had become of his "nat- 
ural causes"? His dual position of humanitarian and economist 
forced him into inconsistencies. In his home a special dinner 
service portrayed a Negro in chains, and in 1837 he purchased 
12,000 small bottles which he filled with samples of free-grown 
sugar and coffee and distributed among sympathisers and mem- 
bers of Parliament. 61 But the support of Liverpool's "benevolent 
townsman" 62 did untold harm to the cause of humanitarianism. 
Thomas Whitmore, East Indian leader in Parliament, was a 
vice-president of the Anti-Slavery Society and was at one time 
candidate for succession to the leadership of the Anti-Slavery 
party. 63 Wilberforce's diary for May 22, 1823, the date of 


Whitmore's motion on the sugar duties, reads: "None interested 
for the question but the East Indians and a few of us Anti- 
Slavers, and the West Indians and government against us." 64 
The two tellers for the East Indian side were Whitmore and 
Buxton. 65 Of all the abolitionists, only one, Brougham, was op- 
posed to equalization of the duties, on the ground that it would 
very speedily lay waste the whole of the West Indian archi- 
pelago. 66 

This connection between East Indians and certain abolition- 
ists has not been fully appreciated. Coupland is clearly unhappy 
about the whole thing, as is seen in his concern with the "sin- 
cerity" of both groups. 67 Klingberg speaks of "co-operation." 68 
Burn is convinced that the attacks on Cropper's disinterested- 
ness were unfounded. 60 Ragatz' explanation is the most satis- 
factory of all: Cropper's was "one of those occasional cases in 
which conduct is not primarily influenced by self-interest 
though they may accidentally coincide." 70 The real signif- 
icance, however, of the abolitionists' support of East India, and 
later of Brazilian sugar, is that the issues involved were not only 
the inhumanity of West Indian slavery but the unprofitableness 
of West Indian monopoly. 

After India, Brazil and Cuba. By no stretch of imagination 
could any humanitarian justify any proposal calculated to rivet 
the chains of slavery still more firmly on the Negroes of Brazil 
and Cuba. That was precisely what free trade in sugar meant. 
For after 1807 the British West Indians were denied the slave 
trade, and after 1833 slave labor. If the abolitionists had recom- 
mended Indian sugar, incorrectly, on the humanitarian principle 
that it was free-grown, it was their duty to their principles and 
their religion to boycott the slave-grown sugar of Brazil and 
Cuba. In failing to do this it is not to be inferred that they were 
wrong, but it is undeniable that their failure to adopt such a 
course completely destroys the humanitarian argument. The 
abolitionists, after 1833, continued to oppose the West Indian 
planters who now employed free labor. Where, before 1833, 
they had boycotted the British slave owner, after 1833 they 
espoused the cause of the Brazilian slave owner. 


The abolitionists at first had not confined their attention to 
the British slave trade. They had dreamed of nothing short of 
the total and universal abolition of the slave trade. They took 
advantage of the return of peace in 1815 and the international 
conferences then in vogue to disseminate their views. They sent 
whole "loads of humbug" to Parliament; 71 in thirty-four days in 
1814, they sent 772 petitions with a million signatures. 72 They 
denounced the paper declaration of the Congress of Vienna 
against the slave trade, where they had won over Britain's 
plenipotentiary, Wellington, and were even prepared to go to 
war for abolition. 73 They gained the support of the Tsar of 
Russia. 74 They sent a special observer, Clarkson, to the Con- 
gress of Aix-la-Chapelle. They were ready to fight France all 
over again to prevent French reconquest of Saint Domingue, 76 
and were unwilling to recognize the independence of Brazil 
from Portugal without an explicit promise to renounce the 
slave trade. They forced the British government, by their 
"friendly violence," 76 to station a squadron on the African coast 
to suppress the slave trade by force. 

The pressure on the government was terrific. The govern- 
ment pleaded for time, for caution. "Morals," said Castlereagh, 
"were never well taught by the sword." 77 He begged the hu- 
manitarians to "moderate their virtuous feelings, and put their 
solicitude for Africa under the dominion of reason." 78 But the 
abolitionists gave the government no peace. As Liverpool con- 
fessed on one occasion to Wilberforce: "If I were not anxious 
for the abolition of the slave trade on principle, I must be 
aware of the embarrassment to which any government must 
be exposed from the present state of that question in this 
country." 79 The government was considerably hampered in its 
foreign relations for they knew that all negotiations were futile. 
But they never dared to say so openly. "We shall never suc- 
ceed," wrote Wellington to Aberdeen, "in abolishing the 
foreign slave trade. But we must take care to avoid to take any 
steps which may induce the people of England to believe that 
we do not do everything in our power to discourage and put it 
down as soon as possible." 80 

In an unforgettable general election in 1831, in which candi- 


dates were quizzed on their views on slavery, the abolitionists 
dragged Negroes to election with golden chains, and, where 
they could find no Negroes, chimney sweeps. They placarded 
the hustings all over the kingdom with full-length pictures of 
white planters flogging Negro women. 81 In their campaigns 
they appealed to the hearts and consciences of British women, 
and even approached children. Leeds published an anti-slavery 
series for juvenile readers. An anti-slavery dial was manufac- 
tured, so that benevolent people, enjoying the domestic com- 
forts of an evening fireside in England, would know that the 
Negroes were toiling on the plantations under the oppressive 
heat of a tropical sun. 82 This was in the years before 1833. Bliss 
was in that dawn. 

But even in that dawn the storm clouds had begun to gather. 
The abolitionists were boycotting the slave-grown produce of 
the British West Indies, dyed with the Negro's blood. But the 
very existence of British capitalism depended upon the slave- 
grown cotton of the United States, equally connected with 
slavery and polluted with blood. The West Indian could legiti- 
mately ask whether "slavery was only reprehensible in coun- 
tries to which those members do not trade, and where their 
connections do not reside." 83 The answers given were curious. 
The person who received slave-grown produce from America 
dealt in the produce of labor performed by slaves who were not 
his fellow subjects, and there was not, in the slavery of the 
United States, any evidence of that destruction of human life 
which was one of the most appalling features of the system in 
the British West Indies. 84 The boycotters of West Indian sugar 
sat upon chairs of Cuban mahogany, before desks of Brazilian 
rosewood, and used inkstands of slave-cut ebony; but "it would 
do no good to go round and inquire into the pedigree of every 
chair and table." In a country like England total abstinence 
from slave produce was impossible, unless they wished to betake 
themselves to the woods and live on roots and berries. 85 As the 
Newcastle abolitionists argued, only "the unnecessary purchase 
of one iota of slave produce involves the purchaser in the guilt 
of the slaveholder." 86 

Was Brazilian sugar necessary? The capitalists said yes; it 


was necessary to keep British capitalism going. The abolitionists 
took the side of the capitalists. In 1833, Lushington, one of the 
oldest of the abolitionists, representing a sugar refining district, 
begged the government not to lose an hour in granting relief 
to his constitutents, who asked for no bounty, no unfair ad- 
vantages, no unjust monopoly. 87 He had in mind the sugar 
refiners of the Tower Hamlets, not the Negroes of the British 
West Indies. Buxton took a curious position. If it could be 
shown that the foreign sugar to be imported would be con- 
sumed at home, instead of being exported, he would vote no. 
But it required one-third more labor to refine sugar in Brazil 
and then import it into Britain in a refined state. In permitting, 
therefore, foreign sugar to be refined in Britain, they were sub- 
stituting British machinery at home for slave labor abroad, and 
consequently to that extent diminishing slave labor and dis- 
couraging the slave trade. 88 Parliament was astonished. 89 Well 
might it be. 

This was in September, 1831. Two years later Buxton was 
rejoicing in the success of his labors. "A mighty work is accom- 
plished as far as this country is concerned." 90 The Emancipa- 
tion Act marked the end of the abolitionist efforts. They were 
satisfied. It never dawned upon them that the Negro's freedom 
could be only nominal if the sugar plantation was allowed to 
endure. When Gladstone, in 1848, still claimed the protecting 
duty for the planters, he most emphatically stated it had nothing 
to do with the Negro. He could see "no reason why we should 
throw away the funds of the country in giving a further 
stimulus to that condition, which is one of comfort fully ade- 
quate to their scale in society and their desires." 91 The abolition- 
ists were silent. It never occurred to them that the Negro might 
want the land. In Antigua, where all the land was appropriated, 
planters and slaves flocked to the churches when the news of 
emancipation reached the island, thanked God for the bless- 
ings of freedom, and returned to their labors, the slaves now 
raised to the dignity of landless wage earners paid twenty-five 
cents a day. The same was true of Barbados, where similar con- 
ditions prevailed, except that the Barbadians omitted the thanks- 
giving. Where were the abolitionists? "The Negro race," wrote 


Buxton, "are blessed with a peculiar aptitude for the reception 
of moral and religious instruction, and it does seem to me that 
there never was a stronger call on any nation than there is now 
on us to meet this inclination in them, to supply them amply 
with the means of instruction, to dispatch missionaries, to insti- 
tute schools, and to send out Bibles. It is the only compensation 
in our power. It is an abundant one! We may in this manner 
recompense all the sorrows and sufferings we have inflicted and 
be the means of making in the end their barbarous removal from 
their own land the greatest of blessings to them." 92 Similarly 
for Africa. In 1840 Gurney wrote that "the ultimate and only 
radical cure of the vices and miseries of Africa is Christianity. 
. . . We must never forget the paramount value of Evangeliza- 
tion." 08 

The barbarous removal of the Negroes from Africa con- 
tinued for at least twenty-five years after 1833, to the sugar 
plantations of Brazil and Cuba. Brazilian and Cuban economy 
depended on the slave trade. Consistency alone demanded that 
the British abolitionists oppose this trade. But that would re- 
tard Brazilian and Cuban development and consequently hamper 
British trade. The desire for cheap sugar after 1833 overcame all 
abhorrence of slavery. Gone was the horror which once was 
excited at the idea of a British West Indian slave-driver armed 
with a whip; the Cuban slave-driver, armed with whip, cutlass, 
dagger and pistols, and followed by bloodhounds, aroused not 
even comment from the abolitionists. Exeter Hall, the center of 
British humanitarianism, yielded to the Manchester School, the 
spearhead of British free trade. 

The abolitionists, once so belligerent where the slave trade 
was concerned, were now pacifists. Buxton wrote a book con- 
demning the slave squadron and the policy of forcible suppres- 
sion of the slave trade as causing aggravated suffering to multi- 
plied numbers. 94 Sturge reorganized the Anti-Slavery Society 
on a purely pacific basis. "The utter failure," said Wilberforce, 
junior, Bishop of Oxford, at a great abolitionist meeting in 1840, 
"of every attempt by treaty, by remonstrance, and by naval 
armaments to arrest the progress of the slave trade, proves the 
necessity of resorting to a preventive policy founded on dif- 


ferent and higher principles." 95 Young Buxton "could not but 
see that those high principles by which this country had been 
guided for many years were now supplanted by others which, 
though important in themselves, were far inferior to those 
principles on which he had acted in former years." 96 Brough- 
am's philanthropy was excited only by sugar and not by cot- 
ton, only by the slave trade and not by slavery, only by the slave 
trade between Africa and Brazil and not by the slave trade be- 
tween Virginia and Texas. He condemned as "a gross perver- 
sion of the doctrines of free trade" the policy of obtaining 
"cheap sugar at the heavier cost of piracy, and torture, and 
blood." 07 He knew it would be madness to exclude American 
cotton, so taking as his standard of measurement not slavery but 
the slave trade, he argued that while he had no right to inter- 
fere in the domestic institutions of independent states, he had 
every right to demand the enforcement of treaties signed by 
independent states. 98 According to his interpretation the United 
States did not carry on the slave trade. There was a difference, 
he contended, between slave-grown sugar in Louisiana, in- 
creased by the natural increase of the slaves or more efficient 
cultivation, and slave-grown sugar in Brazil, increased by "the 
unnatural, forced, and infernal traffic in Africans carried on by 
force and fraud," 09 

Perhaps the greatest single speech ever made on the slavery 
question was the speech of Thomas Babington Macaulay, later 
Lord Macaulay, in 1845. It was a masterpiece of clarity and 
lucidity, befitting a great historian. It had one defect: it was 
pro-slavery and not anti-slavery. "My especial obligations in 
respect to negro slavery," said Macaulay tartly, "ceased when 
slavery itself ceased in that part of the world for the welfare of 
which I, as a member of this House, was accountable." He re- 
fused to turn the fiscal code of the country into a penal code 
for the purpose of correcting vices in the institutions of inde- 
pendent states, or the tariff into "an instrument for rewarding 
the justice and humanity of some foreign governments, and for 
punishing the barbarity of others." He boldly faced the incon- 
sistency of importing Brazilian sugar for refining but not for 
consumption. "We import the accursed thing; we bond it; we 


employ our skill and machinery to render it more alluring, to 
the eye and to the palate; we export it to Leghorn and Ham- 
burg; we send it to all the coffee houses of Italy and Germany; 
we pocket a profit on all this; and then we put on a Pharisaical 
air, and thank God that we are not like those sinful Italians 
and Germans who have no scruple about swallowing slave- 
grown sugar." 100 They dared not prohibit the importation of 
Brazilian sugar, unless they wished to make Germany a War- 
wickshire and Leipzig another Manchester. 101 "I will not have 
two standards of right. ... I will not have two weights or two 
measures. I will not blow hot and cold, play fast and loose, 
strain at a gnat and swallow a camel." 102 

All the great names were here Wilberforce, Buxton, Mac- 
aulay, Brougham. All but Clarkson, a voice in the wilderness 
calling for the exclusion of all articles produced by manacled 
and fettered hands. 103 Yet even Clarkson in 1839 opposed sup- 
pression on the curious ground that it was "but putting money 
into the pockets of our men of war." 104 

Slavery was now regarded in a different light. Mr. Wilson 
was not prepared to say that, because the relation between em- 
ployer and employed was that of master and slave, it should be 
branded as injustice and oppression. 105 The member for Ox- 
ford University opposed the slave trade and was prepared for 
war, if necessary, to suppress it, 106 but he had never accepted 
the view that property in man was illegal. 107 The political eco- 
nomist, M'Culloch, recalled that without slavery the tropics 
could never have been cultivated and that, as an institution, it 
was not justly open to the opprobrium and denunciation ap- 
plied to it. 108 Look at the system of slavery more calmly, lec- 
tured Professor Merivale at Oxford; it was a great social evil, 
but one differing in degree and quality, not in kind, from many 
other social evils they were compelled to tolerate, such as the 
great inequality of fortunes, pauperism, or the overworking of 
children. 109 

Disraeli, like many to follow in Britain and the United States, 
condemned emancipation as the greatest blunder ever com- 
mitted by the English people. It was "an exciting topic . . . 
addressed to an insular people of ^strong purpose, but very de- 


ficient information." 110 This was not a hasty judgment in the 
course of a brilliant oratorical performance. It was a considered 
opinion, which he deliberately repeated in his Life of Lord 
George Bentinck. "The movement of the middle class for the 
abolition of slavery was virtuous, but it was not wise. It was an 
ignorant movement. The history of the abolition of slavery by 
the English and its consequences, would be a narrative of 
ignorance, injustice, blundering, waste, and havoc, not easily 
paralleled in the history of mankind." 111 

Even the intellectuals were engulfed. Coleridge had been 
awarded the Browne Gold Medal at Cambridge for an ode on 
slavery and had abstained from sugar. But in 1811 he sneered 
at the "philanthropy-trade," accused Wilberforce of caring 
only for his own soul, and criticized Clarkson as a man made 
vain by benevolence, "the moral steam engine or the giant with 
one idea"; 112 while in 1833 he was strongly opposed to frequent 
discussions of the "rights" of the Negroes who should be 
"taught to be thankful for the providence which has placed 
them within the reach of the means of grace." 113 In 1792 
Wordsworth was completely indifferent to the "novel heat of 
virtuous feeling" which was spreading through England. 114 His 
famous sonnets to Clarkson, Toussaint L'Ouverture, and the 
"white-robed Negro" are merely magnificent rhetoric and, not 
accidentally, lack the depth of his finest poetry. In 1833 ^ e 
pleaded that slavery was in principle monstrous but was not the 
worst thing in human nature; it was not in itself at all times 
and under all circumstances to be deplored, and in 1 840 he re- 
fused to be publicly associated with the abolitionists. 115 Southey 
favored compulsory manumission by which slavery would, 
with reasonable hope, be extinguished in the course of a genera- 
tion, 116 

But reaction at its blackest and cheapest was personified by 
Carlyle. He wrote an essay on "The Nigger Question," sneer- 
ing at the "Exeter-Hallery and other tragic Tomfoolery" 
which, proceeding on the false principle that all men were 
equal, had made of the West Indies a Black Ireland. Would 
horses be the next to be emancipated? he asked. He contrasted 
the "beautiful Blacks sitting there up to the ears in pumpkins, 


and doleful Whites sitting here without potatoes to eat." It was 
only the white man who had given value to the West Indies, 
and the "indolent two-legged cattle" should be forced to work. 
The abuses of slavery should be abolished, and the precious 
thing in it saved: the Negro "has an indisputable and perpetual 
right to be compelled ... to do competent work for his living." 
It was not that Carlyle hated the Negro. No, he liked him, and 
found that "with a pennyworth of oil, you can make a hand- 
some glossy thing of poor Quashee." The black African, alone 
of wild men, could live among civilized men, but he could be 
useful in God's creation only as a perpetual servant, unless the 
British West Indies were to become, like Haiti, "a tropical dog- 
kennel," black Peter exterminating black Paul. 117 Public opinion, 
as Lord Denman moaned, had undergone a lamentable and dis- 
graceful change. 118 


WE HAVE CONSIDERED the different attitudes to slavery of the 
British Government, the British capitalists, the absentee British 
West Indian planters, and the British humanitarians. We have 
followed the battle of slavery in the home country. It would 
be a grave mistake, however, to treat the question as if it were 
merely a metropolitan struggle. The fate of the colonies was 
at stake, and the colonists themselves were in a ferment which 
indicated, reflected, and reacted upon the great events in 

First, there were the white planters, who had to deal not 
only with the British Parliament but with the slaves. Secondly, 
there were the free people of color. And, thirdly, there were 
the slaves themselves. Most writers on this period have ignored 
them. Modern historical writers are gradually awaking to the 
distortion which is the result of this. 1 In correcting this de- 
ficiency they correct an error which the planters and the 
British officials and politicians of the time never made. 

First, the planters. In 1823 the British government adopted 
a new policy of reform towards West Indian slavery. The 
policy was to be enforced, by orders in council, in the Crown 
Colonies of Trinidad and British Guiana; its success, it was 
hoped, would encourage the self-governing colonies to emulate 
it spontaneously. The reforms included: abolition of the whip; 
abolition of the Negro Sunday market, by giving the slaves 
another day off, to permit them time for religious instruction; 
prohibition of the flogging of female slaves; compulsory manu- 



mission of field and domestic slaves; freedom of female children 
born after 1823; admissibility of evidence of slaves in courts of 
law; establishment of savings banks for slaves; a nine-hour day; 
and the appointment of a Protector of Slaves whose duty it 
was, among other things, to keep an official record of the 
punishments inflicted on the slaves. It was not emancipation 
but amelioration, not revolution but evolution. Slavery would 
be killed by kindness. 

The reply of the planters, in the Crown Colonies as well as 
in the self-governing islands, was an emphatic refusal to pass 
what they considered "a mere catalogue of indulgencies to the 
Blacks." la They knew that all such concessions meant only 
further concessions. 

Not one single recommendation received the unanimous 
approval of the West Indian planters. They were roused to 
fury especially by the proposals for the prohibition of the 
flogging of female slaves and the abolition of the Negro Sun- 
day market. 

From the planters' standpoint, it was necessary to punish 
women. Even in civilized societies, they argued, women were 
flogged, as in the houses of correction in England. "Our black 
ladies," said Mr. Hamden in the Barbados legislature, "have 
rather a tendency to the Amazonian cast of character; and I 
believe that their husbands would be very sorry to hear that 
they were placed beyond the reach of chastisement/' 2 

On the question of the abolition of the Negro Sunday mar- 
ket, Barbados refused to surrender one-sixth of its already re- 
duced income. 8 Jamaica replied that the "pretence of having 
time for religoius duties" would merely encourage idleness 
among the slaves. 4 So great was the opposition of the planters 
that the governor deemed any attempt at alteration highly 
imprudent and could see no alternative but leaving it "to the 
operation of time and that change of circumstances and opin- 
ions which is slowly but surely leading to the improvement of 
the habits and manners of the slaves." 5 It was a true and im- 
portant fact that, with time, mere contact with civilization 
improved the slave, but the slave was in no mood for the 
inevitability of gradualism. 


The whip, argued the planters, was necessary if discipline was 
to be maintained. Abolish it, "and then adieu to all peace and 
comfort on plantations." 6 A Trinidad planter called it "a most 
unjust and oppressive invasion of property" to insist on a nine- 
hour day for full-grown slaves in the West Indies, while the 
English factory owner could exact twelve hours' labor from 
children in a heated and sickly atmosphere. 7 In Jamaica the 
bill for admitting slave evidence aroused a great and violent 
clamor, and it was rejected on the second reading by a majority 
of thirty-six to one. 8 The Assembly of the island postponed 
the savings banks clause to a future session, 9 and the governor 
dared not even mention the question of the freedom of female 
children. 10 The legislature of British Guiana decided that "if 
the principle of manumission invito domino is to be adopted, it 
is more for their consistency and for the interests of their con- 
stituents that it should be done for them than by them." 11 In 
Trinidad the number of manumissions declined considerably, 12 
while appraisals for manumission increased suddenly: 13 "the 
possibility of sworn appraisers pronouncing an unjust deci- 
sion," Stephen confessed, "was not contemplated and is not 
provided against." 14 One manager in Trinidad talked of "the 
silly orders in council," and in recording punishments resorted 
to language unbefitting his responsibility and insulting to the 
framers of the legislation. 15 The office of Protector of Slaves 
in British Guiana was a "delusion": "There is no protection 
for the Slave Population," wrote the incumbent in 1832, "I am 
desperately unpopular. . . ." 16 

Not only did the West Indian planters question the specific 
proposals of the British Government, they also challenged the 
right of the imperial parliament to legislate on their internal 
affairs and issue "arbitrary mandates ... so positive and un- 
qualified in point of matter, and so precise and peremptory in 
point of time." 17 From Barbados the governor reported that 
any attempt at dictation gave rise to instant irritation and 
opposition. 18 The inconsistency of slave owners talking of 
rights and liberties was dismissed as "the clamour of ignorance." 
Look to history, expostulated Hamden, "you will there find 
that no nations in the world have been more jealous of their 


liberties than those amongst whom the institution of slavery 
existed." 19 

In Jamaica the excitement reached fever pitch. The As- 
sembly vowed that it would "never make a deliberate sur- 
render of their undoubted and acknowledged rights" by legis- 
lating in the manner prescribed 20 "upon a subject of mere 
municipal regulation and internal police." 21 If the British 
Parliament was to make laws for Jamaica, it must exercise that 
prerogative without a partner. 22 The doctrine of the trans- 
cendental power of the imperial parliament was declared to be 
subversive of their rights and dangerous to their lives and 
properties. 23 According to the governor, "the undoubted rights 
of the British Parliament have been wantonly and repeatedly 
denied, (and) unless the arrogance of such pretensions is ef- 
fectually curbed, His Majesty's authority in this colony will 
exist only in name." 24 Two Jamaican deputies, sent to Eng- 
land in 1832 to lay their grievances before the home authorities, 
pointedly uncovered the arcana imperil: "We owe no more 
allegiance to the inhabitants of Great Britain than we owe to 
our brother colonists in Canada .... we do not for a moment 
acknowledge that Jamaica can be cited to the bar of English 
opinion to defend her laws and customs." 25 One member of 
the island assembly went further: "as for the King of Eng- 
land," he asked, "what right I should be glad to know has he 
to Jamaica except that he stole it from Spain?" 26 A West 
Indian in Parliament reminded the British people that "by 
persisting in the question of right we lost America." 27 Talk of 
secession was rife. The home government was warned that 
there was constant communication in Jamaica with individuals 
in the United States, 28 and that feelers had been put out by 
some planters to the United States Government. 29 The cabinet 
took the matter sufficiently seriously to question the governor 
about the matter. 80 Had not Saint Domingue, in similar cir- 
cumstances, offered itself to Britain? 

This was more than the language of desperate men or an 
insane flouting of the "temperate but authoritative admoni- 
tion" 81 of the imperial authorities. It was a lesson not so much 
to the public of Great Britain as to the slaves of the West Indies. 


If the governor of Jamaica found in the planters "a greater 
reluctance to part with power over the slave than might have 
been expected in the present age," 32 it is obvious how the 
recalcitrance of the plantocracy appeared to the slaves. The 
Negroes, least of all people, were likely to forget that, in the 
words of the governor of Barbados, "the love of power of 
these planters over the poor Negroes, each in his little sugar 
dominion, has found as great an obstacle to freedom as the 
love of their labor" Emancipation would come not from the 
planters but despite the planters. 

Whilst the whites were plotting treason and talking of 
secession, the free people of color were steadfastly loyal. They 
deprecated "a dissolution of the ties which bind us to the 
Mother Country as the greatest calamity that could possibly 
befall ourselves and our posterity." 34 To their great credit, 
the governor of Trinidad reported, they had not participated 
in those meetings "whereat so much pains have been taken to 
sow the seeds of discontent in the colony both among the free 
and the slave population." 35 Whilst the whites were refusing 
to hold office, the mulattoes were insisting on their right to 
public service. 36 They were loyal not from inherent virtue but 
because they were too weak to gain their rights on their own 
behalf and could see no prospect of their own emancipation 
except through the British government. Furthermore, the local 
governments, in so far as they were trying to carry out the 
policy of the anti-monopolists, had to lean on them. In Bar- 
bados, wrote the governor, the balance of refinement, morals, 
education, and energy was on the side of the mulattoes, whilst 
the whites had nothing but old rights and prejudices to main- 
tain their illiberal position. "You will see," he advised the home 
government, "a large policy in present circumstances in bring- 
ing these castes forward. They are a sober, active, energetic 
and loyal race; and I could equally depend on them if need 
came, against either slaves or white militia." 37 

Contrary to popular and even learned belief, however, as the 
political crisis deepened in Britain, the most dynamic and 
powerful social force in the colonies was the slave himself. This 
aspect of the West Indian problem has been studiously ignored, 


as if the slaves, when they became instruments of production, 
passed for men only in the catalogue. The planter looked upon 
slavery as eternal, ordained by God, and went to great lengths 
to justify it by scriptural quotations. There was no reason 
why the slave should think the same. He took the same 
scriptures and adapted them to his own purposes. To coercion 
and punishment he responded with indolence, sabotage and 
revolt. Most of the time he merely was as idle as possible. 
That was his usual form of resistance passive. The docility 
of the Negro slave is a myth. The Maroons of Jamaica and 
the Bush Negroes of British Guiana were runaway slaves 
who had extracted treaties from the British Government and 
lived independently in their mountain fastnesses or jungle 
retreats. They were standing examples to the slaves of the 
British West Indies of one road to freedom. The successful slave 
revolt in Saint Domingue was a landmark in the history of 
slavery in the New World, and after 1804, when the inde- 
pendent republic of Haiti was established, every white slave- 
owner, in Jamaica, Cuba, or Texas, lived in dread of another 
Toussaint L'Ouverture. It is inconceivable a priori that the 
economic dislocation and the vast agitations which shook mil- 
lions in Britain could have passed without effect on the slaves 
themselves and the relation of the planters to the slaves. Pres- 
sure on the sugar planter from the capitalists in Britain was 
aggravated by pressure from the slaves in the colonies. In com- 
munities like the West Indies, as the governor of Barbados 
wrote, "the public mind is ever tremblingly alive to the dangers 
of insurrection." 38 

Not nearly as stupid as his master thought him and later 
historians have pictured him, the slave was alert to his sur- 
roundings and keenly interested in discussions about his fate. 
"Nothing," wrote the governor of British Guiana in 1830, "can 
be more keenly observant than the slaves are of all that affects 
their interests." 39 The planters openly discussed the question 
of slavery in the presence of the very people whose future was 
under consideration. "If the turbulent meetings which are held 
here among the proprietors," wrote the governor of Trinidad 
in 1832, "are countenanced, nothing that may occur need be 


matter of surprise. . . ." 40 The local press added to the in- 
flammable material. A Trinidad paper called the order in coun- 
cil "villainous," 41 another spoke of "the ridiculous provisions 
of the ruinous Code Noir." 42 One judge refused to sit on any 
trial arising out of the order in council and walked out of 
court. 43 The planters have been blamed for this reckless at- 
titude. But they could not help it. It is a feature of all deep 
social crises. Before the French Revolution the French court 
and aristocracy discussed Voltaire and Rousseau not only 
freely but, in certain spheres, with real intellectual apprecia- 
tion. The arrogant behavior and intemperate language of the 
planters, however, served only to inflame the minds of the 
already restless slaves. 

The consensus of opinion among the slaves, whenever each 
new discussion arose or each new policy was announced, was 
that emancipation had been passed in England but was with- 
held by their masters. The governor of Jamaica reported in 
1807 that abolition of the slave trade was construed by the 
slaves as "nothing less than their general emancipation." 44 In 
1816 the British Parliament passed an act making compulsory 
the registration of all slaves, to prevent smuggling in violation 
of the abolition law. The slaves in Jamaica were of the impres- 
sion that the bill "contemplates some dispositions in their favour 
which the Assembly here supported by the inhabitants gen- 
erally are desirous to withhold," 45 and the planters had to rec- 
ommend a parliamentary declaration that emancipation was 
never contemplated. 46 A similar misunderstanding prevailed 
among the slaves in Trinidad 47 and Barbados. 48 All over the 
West Indies the slaves were asking "why Bacchra no do that 
King bid him?" 49 So deeply was the idea imbedded in the 
minds of the slaves that some great benefit was intended for 
them by the home government in opposition to their masters 
that they eagerly seized upon every trifling circumstance in 
confirmation. 50 Every change of governor was interpreted by 
them as emancipation. The arrival of D'Urban in British Guiana 
in 1824 was construed by the slaves as involving "something 
interesting to their prospects." 51 The governor of Trinidad 
went on leave in 1831; the Negroes had it that he "was to 


bring out emancipation for all the slaves." 52 Mulgrave's arrival 
in Jamaica in 1832 created great excitement. At a review near 
Kingston he was followed around by a greater number of slaves 
than had ever assembled before in the island, all with one idea 
in their minds, that he had "come out with emancipation in his 
pocket." 53 The appointment of Smith as governor of Barbados 
in 1833 was understood by the slaves as meaning general emanci- 
pation. His arrival in the island gave rise to a considerable 
number of desertions from distant plantations to Bridgetown 
"to ascertain if the Governor had brought out freedom or 
not." 54 

The slaves, however, were not prepared to wait for freedom 
to come to them as a dispensation from above. The frequency 
and intensity of slave revolts after 1800 reflect the growing 
tensions which reverberated in the stately halls of Westminster. 

In 1808 a slave revolt broke out in British Guiana. The revolt 
was betrayed and the ringleaders arrested. They consisted of 
"the drivers, tradesmen, and other most sensible slaves on the 
estates," 55 that is, not the field hands but the slaves who were 
more comfortably off and better treated. In the same way a 
rebel in Jamaica in 1824, who committed suicide, openly ad- 
mitted that his master was kind and indulgent, but defended 
his action on the ground that freedom during his lifetime had 
been withheld only by his master. 56 It was a danger signal. 
Toussaint L'Ouverture in Saint Domingue had been a trusted 
slave coachman. 

In 1816 came the turn of Barbados. It was a rude shock for 
the Barbadian planters who flattered themselves that the good 
treatment of the slaves would "have prevented their resorting 
to violence to establish a claim of natural right which by long 
custom sanctioned by law has been hitherto refused to be 
acknowledged." 57 The rebels, when questioned, explicitly 
denied that ill treatment was the cause. "They stoutly main- 
tained however," so the commander of the troops wrote to 
the governor, "that the island belonged to them, and not to 
white men, whom they proposed to destroy, reserving the 
females." 58 The revolt caught the planters off their guard, and 
only its premature breaking out, as a result of the intoxication 


of one of the rebels, prevented it from engulfing the entire 
island. 09 The Jamaican planters could see in the revolt nothing 
but "the first fruits of the visionary schemes of a few hot- 
headed philanthropic theorists, ignorant declaimers, and 
bigotted fanatics." 60 All they could think of was urgent rep- 
resentations to the governor to recall a detachment that had 
sailed a few days before to England and to detain the remainder 
of the regiment in Jamaica. 61 

But the tension was rapidly mounting. British Guiana in 
1808, Barbados in 1816. In 1823 British Guiana went up in 
flames, for the second time. Fifty plantations revolted, embrac- 
ing a population of 12,000. Here again the revolt was so care- 
fully and secretly planned that it took the planters unawares. 
The slaves demanded unconditional emancipation. The gover- 
nor expostulated with them they must go gradually and not 
be precipitate. The slaves listened coldly. "These things they 
said were no comfort to them, God had made them of the same 
flesh and blood as the whites, that they were tired of being 
slaves to them, that they should be free and they would not 
work any more." The governor assured them that "if by peace- 
ful conduct they deserved His Majesty's favor they would 
find their lot substantially though gradually improved, but they 
declared they would be free." 62 The usual severities followed, 
the revolt was quelled, the planters celebrated and went their 
way, unheeding. Their sole solicitude was the continuation of 
the martial law that had been declared. 63 

"Now the ball has begun to roll," wrote the governor of 
Barbados confidentially to the Secretary of State for the Colo- 
nies when he heard the news of the Guiana revolt, "nobody can 
say when or where it is to stop." 64 The next year the slaves on 
two plantations in the parish of Hanover in Jamaica revolted. 
The revolt was localized and suppressed by a large military 
force and the ringleaders executed. The slaves as a group, how- 
ever, could only with difficulty be restrained from interfering 
with the execution. In addition, the executed men, wrote the 
governor, "were fully impressed with the belief that they were 
entitled to their freedom and that the cause they had embraced 
was just and in vindication of their own rights." According 


to one of the leaders, the revolt had not been subdued, "the war 
had only begun." 65 

Outward calm was restored in British Guiana and in Jamaica, 
but the Negroes continued restless. "The spirit of discontent is 
anything but extinct," wrote the governor of British Guiana, 
"it is alive as it were under its ashes, and the negro mind al- 
though giving forth no marked indication of mischief to those 
not accustomed to observe it, is still agitated, jealous and 
suspicious." 66 The governor cautioned against further delay, 
not only for the sake of the intrinsic humanity and policy of 
the measure, but that expectation and conjecture might cease 
and the Negroes be released from that feverish anxiety which 
would continue to agitate them, until the question was set 
definitely at rest. 67 No state of the Negro mind was so danger- 
ous as one of undefined and vague expectation. 68 

This was in 1824. Seven years later the same discussions about 
property and compensation and vested rights were still going 
on. In 1831 the slaves took the matter into their own hands. An 
insurrectionary movement developed in Antigua. The governor 
of Barbados had to send reinforcements. 69 In Barbados itself the 
idea prevailed that the King had granted emancipation but the 
governor was withholding the boon, while a rumor spread that, 
in the event of insurrection, the King's troops had received 
positive orders not to fire upon the slaves. 70 

The climax came with a revolt in Jamaica during the Christ- 
mas holidays. Jamaica was the largest and most important British 
West Indian colony, and had more than half the slaves in the 
entire British West Indies. With Jamaica on fire, nothing could 
stop the flames from spreading. An "extensive and destructive 
insurrection" broke out among the slaves in the western dis- 
trict. 71 The insurrection, reported the governor, "was not oc- 
casioned by any sudden grievance or. immediate cause of dis- 
content, it had been long concerted and at different periods 
deferred." The leaders were slaves employed in situations of 
the greatest confidence, who were consequently exempted 
from all hard labor. "In their position motives no less strong 
than those which appear to have actuated them a desire of 
effecting their freedom, and in some cases of possessing them- 


selves of the property belonging to their masters could have 
influenced their conduct." 72 

The West Indian planters, however, saw in these slave revolts 
nothing but an opportunity of embarrassing the mother coun- 
try and the humanitarians. From Trinidad the governor wrote 
as follows in 1832: ". . . the island, as far as the slaves are con- 
cerned, is quite tranquil and very easily could be kept so if such 
was the desire of those who ought to guide their endeavours in 

this way It would almost appear to be the actuating motives 

of some leading people here to drive the Government to 
abandon its principles, even at the risk of exciting the slaves to 
insurrection." 73 The governor of Jamaica encountered the 
same situation: "There is no doubt that there would be those 
short sighted enough to enjoy at the moment any disturbance 
on the part of the Negroes arising from disappointment which 
these persons despairing of their own prospects would consider 
as some consolation from its entailing embarrassment on the 
British Government." 74 The West Indian planter, in the words 
of Daniel O'Connell, continued to sit, "dirty and begrimed over 
a powder magazine, from which he would not go away, and he 
was hourly afraid that the slave would apply a torch to it." 75 

But the conflict had left the stage of abstract political discus- 
sion about slaves as property and political measures. It had 
become translated into the passionate desires of people. "The 
question," wrote a Jamaican to the governor, "will not be left 
to the arbitrament of a long angry discussion between the 
Government and the planter. The slave himself has been taught 
that there is a third party, and that party himself. He knows his 
strength, and will assert his claim to freedom. Even at this 
moment, unawed by the late failure, he discusses the question 
with a fixed determination." 76 From Barbados the governor 
emphasized the "double cruelty" of suspense it paralyzed the 
efforts of the planters, and drove the slaves, who had been kept 
in years of hope and expectation, to sullen despair. 77 Nothing 
could be more mischievous, he warned, than holding out to 
the slaves from session to session that their freedom was com- 
ing. 78 It was most desirable, he wrote a fortnight later, that "the 
state of this unhappy people should be early considered and 


decided on by the Home Authorities, for the state of delusion 
they are labouring under renders them obnoxious to their 
owners and in some instances encreases the unavoidable misery 
of their condition." 79 

In 1833, therefore, the alternatives were clear: emancipation 
from above, or emancipation from below. But EMANCIPA- 
TION. Economic change, the decline of the monopolists, the 
development of capitalism, the humanitarian agitation in British 
churches, contending perorations in the halls of Parliament, 
had now reached their completion in the determination of the 
slaves themselves to be free. The Negroes had been stimulated 
to freedom by the development of the very wealth which their 
labor had created. 


THIS STUDY, though treating specifically of Britain, has been 
given the general title of "Capitalism and Slavery." The title 
"British Capitalism and Slavery," though pedantically more ac- 
curate, would nevertheless have been generically false. What 
was characteristic of British capitalism was typical also of 
capitalism in France. Gaston-Martin writes: "There was not a 
single great shipowner at Nantes who, between 1714 and 1789, 
did not buy and sell slaves; there was not one who sold only 
slaves; it is almost as certain that none would have become 
what he was if he had not sold slaves. In this lies the essential 
importance of the slave trade: on its success or failure depended 
the progress or ruin of all the others." 1 

Britain, far ahead of the rest of the world, and France were 
the countries which ushered in the modern world of industrial 
development and parliamentary democracy with its attendant 
liberties. The other foreign stream which fed the accumulation 
of capital in Britain, the trade with India, was secondary in the 
period we have presented. It was only with the loss of the 
American colonies in 1783 that Britain turned to the serious 
exploitation of her Indian possessions. 

The crisis which began in 1776 and continued through the 
French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars until the Reform 
Bill of 1832, was in many respects a world crisis similar to the 
crisis of today, differing only in the more comprehensive range, 
depth and intensity of the present. It would be strange if the 
study of the previous upheaval did not at least leave us with 



certain ideas and principles for the examination of what is going 
on around us today. 

1. The decisive forces in the period of history *we have dis- 
cussed are the developing economic forces. 

These economic changes are gradual, imperceptible, but they 
have an irresistible cumulative effect. Men, pursuing their in- 
terests, are rarely aware of the ultimate results of their activity. 
The commercial capitalism of the eighteenth century developed 
the wealth of Europe by means of slavery and monopoly. But in 
so doing it helped to create the industrial capitalism of the nine- 
teenth century, which turned round and destroyed the power 
of commercial capitalism, slavery, and all its works. Without a 
grasp of these economic changes the history of the period is 

2. The various contending groups of dominant merchants, in- 
dustrialists and politicians, while keenly aware of immediate in- 
terests, are for that very reason generally blind to the long- 
range consequences of their various actions, proposals, policies. 

To the large majority of those responsible for British policy 
the loss of the American colonies seemed a catastrophe. In 
reality, as was rapidly seen, it proved the beginning of a period 
of creative wealth and political power for Britain which far 
exceeded all the undoubted achievements of the previous age. 
From this point of view, the problem of the freedom of Africa 
and the Far East from imperialism will be finally decided by the 
necessities of production. As the new productive power of 1833 
destroyed the relations of mother country and colonies which 
had existed sixty years before, so the incomparably greater pro- 
ductive power of today will ultimately destroy any relations 
which stand in its way. This does not invalidate the urgency 
and validity of arguments for democracy, for freedom now or 
for freedom after the war. But mutatis mutandis, the arguments 
have a familiar ring. It is helpful to approach them with some 
experience of similar arguments and the privilege (apparently 
denied to active contemporaries) of dispassionate investigation 
into what they represented. 


3. The political and moral ideas of the age are to be examined in 
the very closest relation to the economic development. 

Politics and morals in the abstract make no sense. We find 
the British statesmen and publicists defending slavery today, 
abusing slavery tomorrow, defending slavery the day after. To- 
day they are imperialist, the next day anti-imperialist, and 
equally pro-imperialist a generation after. And always with the 
same vehemence. The defence or attack is always on the high 
moral or political plane. The thing defended or attacked is al- 
ways something that you can touch and see, to be measured 
in pounds sterling or pounds avoirdupois, in dollars and cents, 
yards, feet and inches. This is not a crime. It is a fact. It is un- 
derstandable at the time. But historians, writing a hundred years 
after, have no excuse for continuing to wrap the real interests 
in confusion.* Even the great mass movements, and the anti- 
slavery mass movement was one of the greatest of these, show 
a curious affinity with the rise and development of new interests 
and the necessity of the destruction of the old. 

4. An outworn interest, whose bankruptcy smells to heaven in 
historical perspective, can exercise an obstructionist and disrup- 
tive effect which can only be explained by the powerful serv- 
ices it had previously rendered and the entrenchment previously 

How else explain the powerful defence put up by the West 
Indians when any impartial observer, if such existed, could have 
seen that their time was up? However, in a simplified account 
such as history always must be, the carefully chosen representa- 
tive, contemporary utterances give a misleading effect of clarity 
of aim and purpose. 

5. The ideas built on these interests continue long after the in- 
terests have been destroyed and work their old mischief, which 
is all the more mischievous because the interests to which they 
corresponded no longer exist. 

*Of this deplorable tendency Professor Coupland of Oxford University 
is a notable example. 


Such are the ideas of the unfitness of the white man for labor 
in the tropics and the inferiority of the Negro which con- 
demned him to slavery. We have to guard not only against 
these old prejudices but also against the new which are being 
constantly created. No age is exempt. 

The points made above are not offered as solutions of present- 
day problems. They are noted as guide-posts that emerge from 
the charting of another sea which was in its time as stormy as 
our own. The historians neither make nor guide history. Their 
share in such is usually so small as to be almost negligible. But if 
they do not learn something from history, their activities would 
then be cultural decoration, or a pleasant pastime, equally use- 
less in these troubled times. 



1. C. M. Andrews, The Colonial Period of American History (New 
Haven, 1934-1938), I, 12-14, 19-20. 

2. N. M. Grouse, The French Struggle for the West Indies, 1665-1713 
(New York, 1943), 7. 

3. Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (Cannan edition, New York, 
1937), 538. To this Smith added a political factor, "liberty to manage their 
own affairs in their own way". 

4. H. Merivale, Lectures on Colonization and Colonies (Oxford, 1928 
edition), 262. 

5. Ibid., 385. The description is Lord Sydenham's, Governor-General 
of Canada. 

6. Merivale, op. cit., 256. 

7. Ibid. 

8. R. B. Flanders, Plantation Slavery in Georgia (Chapel Hill, 1933), 
15-16, 20. 

9. Merivale, op. cit., 269. 

10. M. James, Social Problems and Policy during the Puritan Revolu- 
tion, 1640-1660 (London, 1930), HI. 

H. Adam Smith, op. cit., 365. 

12. J. Cairnes, The Slave Power (New York, 1862), 39. 

13. G. Wakefield, A View of the Art of Colonization (London, 1849), 


14. Adam Smith, op. cit., 365-366. 

15. Merivale, op. cit., 303. Italics Merivale's. 

1 6. M. B. Hammond, The Cotton Industry: An Essay in American 
Economic History (New York, 1897), 39- 

17. Cairnes, op. cit., 44; Merivale, op. cit., 305-306. On soil exhaustion 
and the expansion of slavery in the United States see W. C. Bagley, 
Soil Exhaustion and the Civil War (Washington, D. C., 1942). 

1 8. Merivale, op. cit., 307-308. 

19. J. A. Saco, Historia de la Esclavitud de los Indios en el Nuevo 
Mundo (La Habana, 1932 edition), I, Introduction, p. xxxviii. The Intro- 
duction is written by Fernando Ortiz. 


214 NOTES TO PAGES 8-12 

20. A. W. Lauber, Indian Slavery in Colonial Times 'within the Present 
Limits of the United States (New York, 1913), 214-215. 

21. J. C. Ballagh, A History of Slavery in Virginia (Baltimore, 1902), 


22. F. Ortiz, Contrapunteo Cubano del Tabaco y el Azucar (La 
Habana, 1940), 353. 

23. Ibid., 359. 

24. Lauber, op. cit., 302. 

25. C. M. Haar, "White Indentured Servants in Colonial New York," 
Americana (July, 1940), 371. 

26. Cambridge History of the British Empire (Cambridge, 1929), I, 69. 

27. See Andrews, op. cit., I, 59; K. F. Geiser, Redemptioners and 
Indentured Servants in the Colony and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania 
(New Haven, 1901), 18. 

28. Cambridge History of the British Empire, I, 236. 

29. C. M. Maclnnes, Bristol, a Gateway of Empire (Bristol, 1939), 

30. M. W. Jernegan, Laboring and Dependent Classes in Colonial 
America, 1607-1783 (Chicago, 1931), 45. 

31. H. E. Bolton and T. M. Marshall, The Colonization of North 
America, 1492-1783 (New York, 1936), 336. 

32. J. W. Bready, England Before and After Wesley The Evangelical 
Revival and Social Reform (London, 1938), 106. 

33. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, V, 98. July 16, 1662. 

34. Geiser, op. cit., 18. 

35. See G. Mittelberger, Journey to Pennsylvania in the year 1750 
(Philadelphia, 1898), 16; E. I. McCormac, White Servitude in Maryland 
(Baltimore, 1904), 44, 49; "Diary of John Harrower, 1773-1776," American 
Historical Review (Oct., 1900), 77. 

36. E. Abbott, Historical Aspects of the Immigration Problem, Select 
Documents (Chicago, 1926), i2n. 

37. Bready, op. cit., 127. 

38. L. F. Stock (ed.), Proceedings and Debates in the British Parliament 
respecting North America (Washington, D. C., 1924-1941), I, 353 n, 355; 
III, 437 n, 494. 

39. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, V, 221. 

40. Ibid., V, 463. April, 1667 (?) 

41. Stock, op. cit,, V, 229 n. 

42. Jernegan, op. cit., 49. 

43. J. D. Lang, Transportation and Colonization (London, 1837), 10. 

44. Merivale, op. cit., 125. 

45. J. D. Butler, "British Convicts Shipped to American Colonies," 
American Historical Review (Oct., 1896), 25. 

46. J. C. Jeaffreson (ed.), A Young Squire of the Seventeenth Century. 
From the Papers (A.D. 1676-1686) of Clmstopher Jeaffreson (London, 
1878), I, 258. Jeaffreson to Poyntz, May 6, 1681. 

NOTES TO PAGES 13-17 215 

47. For CromwelPs own assurance for this, see Stock, op. cit., I, 211. 
Cromwell to Speaker Lenthall, Sept. 17, 1649. 

48. V. T. Harlow, A History of Barbados, i62f-i68f (Oxford, 1926), 

49. J. A. Williamson, The Caribbee Islands Under the Proprietary 
Patents (Oxford, 1926), 95. 

50. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, XIII, 65. Joseph Crispe to 
Col. Bay^r, June 10, 1689, from St. Christopher: "Besides the French we 
have a still worse enemy in the Irish Catholics." In Montserrat the Irish, 
three to every one of the English, threatened to turn over the island to 
the French (Ibid., 73. June 27, 1689). Governor Codrington from Antigua 
preferred to trust the defence of Montserrat to the few English and 
their slaves rather than rely on die "doubtful fidelity" of the Irish (Ibid., 
112-113. July 3 1 * 1689). He disarmed the Irish in Nevis and sent them to 
Jamaica (Ibid., 123. Aug. 15, 1689). 

51. H. J. Ford, The Scotch-Irish in America (New York, 1941), 208. 

52. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, V, 495. Petition of 
Barbados, Sept. 5, 1667. 

53. Stock, op. cit., I, 288 n, 321 n, 327. 

54. Harlow, op. cit., 297-298. 

55. Mittelberger, op. cit., 19. 

56. Stock, op. cit., I, 249. March 25, 1659. 

57. Geiser, op. cit., 57. 

58. E. W. Andrews (ed.), Journal of a Lady of Quality; Being the 
Narrative of a Jottmey from Scotland to the West Indies, North Caro- 
lina and Portugal, in the years 7774-7776 (New Haven, 1923), 33. 

59. JearTreson, op. cit., II, 4. 

60. J. A. Doyle, English Colonies in America Virginia, Maryland, and 
the Carolinas (New York, 1889), 3 8 7- 

61. Maclnnes, op. cit., 164-165; S. Seyer, Memoirs Historical and 
Topographical of Bristol and its Neighbourhood (Bristol, 1821-1823), 
II, 531; R. North, The Life of the Rt. Hon. Francis North, Baron Guild- 
ford (London, 1826), II, 24-27. 

62. Seyer, op. cit., II, 532. 

63. Cambridge History of the British Empire, I, 563-565. 

64. Ballagh, op. cit., 42. 

65. McCormac, op. cit., 75. 

66. Ibid., in. 

67. C. A. Herrick, White Servitude in Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 
1926), 3. 

68. Stock, op. cit., I, 249. 

69. Harlow, op. cit., 306. 

70. Stock, op. cit., I, 250. March 25, 1659. 

71. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, IX, 394. May 30, 1676. 

72. Sir W. Besant, London in the Eighteenth Century (London, 1902), 


2l6 NOTES TO PAGES 17-24 

73. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, V, 229. Report of Com- 
mittee of Council for Foreign Plantations, Aug., 1664 (?). 

74. G. S. Callender, Selections from the Economic History of the 
United States, 1765-1860 (New York, 1909), 48. 

75. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, X, 574. July 13, 1680. 

76. H. J. Laski, The Rise of European Liberalism (London, 1936), 199, 
215, 221. 

77. Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders (Abbey Classics edition, London, n.d.), 


78. T. J. Wertenbaker, The Planters of Colonial Virginia (Princeton, 
1922), 61. 

79. Herrick, op. cit., 278. 

80. Ibid., 12. 

81. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, V, 220. Petition of Mer- 
chants, Planters and Masters of Ships trading to the Plantations, July 
12, 1664. 

82. Harlow, op. cit., 307. 

83. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, IX, 445. Aug. 15, 1676. 

84. U. B. Phillips, Life and Labor in the Old South (Boston, 1929), 25. 

85. J. S. Bassett, Slavery and Servitude in the Colony of North Caro- 
lina (Baltimore, 1896), 77. On the docility of the Negro slave, see infra, 
pp. 201-208. 

86. Flanders, op. cit., 14. 

87. Cairnes, op. cit., 35 n. 

88. Callender, op. cit., 764 n. 

89. Cairnes, op. cit., 36. 

90. Ortiz, op. cit., 6, 84. 

91. A. G. Price, White Settlers in the Tropics (New York, 1939), 83. 

92. Ibid., 83, 95. 

93. Ibid., 92. 

94. Ibid., 94. 

95. E. T. Thompson, "The Climatic Theory of the Plantation," Agricul- 
tural History (Jan., 1940,60. 

96. H. L. Wilkinson, The World's Population Problems and a White 
Australia (London, 1930), 250. 

97. Ibid., 251. 

98. R. Guerra, Azucar y Poblacion en Las Antillas (La Habana, 1935), 

09. Williamson, op. cit., 157-158. 

100. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, X, 503. Governor Atkins, 
March 26, 1680. 

101. Ibid., VII, 141. Sir Peter Colleton to Governor Codrington, Dec. 
14, 1670. A similar suggestion came from Jamaica in 1686. Permission was 
requested for the introduction of cotton manufacture, to provide em- 
ployment for the poor whites. The reply of the British Customs authori- 
ties was that "the more such manufactures are encouraged in the Colonies 

NOTES TO PAGES 24-29 217 

the less they will be dependent on England." F. Cundall, The Governors 
of Jamaica in the Seventeenth Century (London, 1936), 102-103. 

102. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, XIV, 446-447. Governor 
Russell, March 23, 1695. 

103. C. S. S. Higham, The Development of the Leeward Islands under 
the Restoration, 1660-1688 (Cambridge, 1921), 145. 

104. Harlow, op. cit., 44. 

105. Callender, op. cit., 762. 

106. Merivale, op. cit., 62. 

107. Harlow, op. cit., 293. 

1 08. Ibid., 41. 

109. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, V, 529. "Some Observa- 
tions on the Island of Barbadoes," 1667. 

no. Harlow, op. cit., 41. 
in. Ibid., 43. 

112. Merivale, op. cit., Si. 

113. F. W. Pitman, The Settlement and Financing of British West India 
Plantations in the Eighteenth Century, in Essays in Colonial History by 
Students of C. M. Andrews (New Haven, 1931), 267. 

114. lbid.y 267-269. 

115. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, I, 79. Governor Sir 
Francis Wyatt and Council of Virginia, April 6, 1626. 

116. Wertenbaker, op. cit., 59, 115, 122-123, 131, 151. 

117. R. B. Vance, Human Factors in Cotton Culture: A Study in the 
Social Geography of the American South (Chapel Hill, 1929), 36. 

1 1 8. J. A. Saco, Historia de la Esclavitud de la Raza Africana en el 
Nuevo Mundo y en especial en los Paises America-Hispanos (La Habana, 
1938), I, Introduction, p. xxviii. The Introduction is by Fernando Ortiz. 

119. T. Blanco, "El Prejuicio Racial en Puerto Rico," Estudios Afro- 
cubanos, II (1938), 26. 

120. Saco, Historia de la Esclavitud de la Raza Africana . . . Introduc- 
tion, p. xxx. 

121. Immigration of Labourers into the West Indian Colonies and the 
Mauritius, Part II, Parliamentary Papers, Aug. 26, 1846, 60. Henry Light 
to Lord Stanley, Sept. 17, 1845: "As labourers they are invaluable, as 
citizens they are amongst the best, and rarely are brought before the 
courts of justice or the police." 

122. Papers Relative to the West Indies, 1841-1842, Jamaica-Barbados, 
1 8. C. T. Metcalfe to Lord John Russell, Oct. 27, 1841. 

123. Immigration of Labourers into the West Indian Colonies . . ., in. 
William Reynolds to C. A. Fitzroy, August 20, 1845. 

124. These figures are taken from tables in I. Ferenczi, International 
Migrations (New York, 1929), I, 506-509, 516-518, 520, 534, 537. 

125. The following table illustrates the use of Chinese labor on Cuban 
sugar plantations in 1857: 

2l8 NOTES TO PAGES 29-32 

Plantation Negroes Chinese 

Flor de Cuba 409 170 

San Martin 452 125 

El Progreso 550 40 

Armonfa 330 20 

Santa Rosa 300 30 

San Rafael 260 20 

Santa Susana 632 200 

The last plantation was truly cosmopolitan; the slave gang included 34 
natives of Yucatan. These figures are taken from J. G. Cantero, Los 
Ingenios de la Isla de Cuba (La Habana, 1857). The book is not paged. 
There was some opposition to this Chinese labor, on the ground that it in- 
creased the heterogeneity of the population. "And what shall we lose 
thereby?" was the retort. Anales de la Real Junta de Fomento y Sociedad 
Econormca de La Habana (La Habana, 1851), 187. 

126. Ferenczi, op. cit., I, 527. 


1. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, V, 167. Renatus Enys to 
Secretary Bennet, Nov. i, 1663. 

2. C. Whitworth (ed.), The Political and Commercial Works of 
Charles Davenant (London, 1781), V, 146. 

3. G. F. Zook, The Company of Royal Adventurers trading into Africa 
(Lancaster, 1919), 9, 16. 

4. M. Postlethwayt, Great Britain's Commercial Interest Explained and 
Improved (London, 1759), II, 148-149, 236; Postlethwayt, The African 
Trade, the Great Pillar and Support of the British Plantation Trade in 
North America (London, 1745), 38-39; Postlethwayt, The National and 
Private Advantages of the African Trade Considered (London, 1746), 
113, 122. 

5. J. Gee, The Trade and Navigation of Great Britain Considered 
(Glasgow, 1750), 25-26. 

6. Whitworth, op. cit., II, 37-40. 

7. Ibid., V, 140-141. The whole essay, "Reflections upon the Constitu- 
tion and Management of the African Trade," will repay reading. 

8. E. Donnan (ed.), Documents Illustrative of the History of the Slave 
Trade to America (Washington, D. C., 1930-1935), II, 129-130. 

9. Ibid., I, 265. In 1 68 1 these debts were estimated at 271,000. E. D. 
Collins, Studies in the Colonial Policy of England, 1672-1680 (Annual 
Report of the American Historical Association, 1900), 185. 

10. J. Latimer, Annals of Bristol in the Eighteenth Century (Bristol, 
1893), 271. 

NOTES TO PAGES 32-34 219 

11. Higham, op. cit., 158. 

12. Larimer, op. cit., 272. 

13. Anonymous, Some Matters of Fact relating to the present state of 
the African Trade (London, 1720), 3. 

14. Pitman, The Development of the British West Indies, 1700-1763 
(New Haven, 1917), 67. 

15. Ibid., 69-70, 79. 

1 6. Postlethwayt, Great Britain's Commercial Interest . . ., II, 479- 
480. See also pp. 149-151, 154-155. 

17. H. H. S. Aimes, A History of Slavery in Cuba, /j-// to 1868 (New 
York, 1907), 33, 269. 

1 8. W. E. H. Lecky, A History of England in the Eighteenth Century 
(London, 1892-1920), II, 244. 

19. Report of the Lords of the Committee of Privy Coitncil appointed 
for the consideration of all matters relating to Trade and Foreign Planta- 
tions ', 1788. Part VI, Evidence of Messrs. Baillie, King, Camden and 
Hubbert. The following figures, taken from the same report (Part IV, 
No. 4 and No. 15, Supplement No. 6, and Papers received since the date 
of the report), give some indication of the extent of the re-export trade: 

Colony Years Imports Re-Exports 

Jamaica 1784-1787 37,841 14,477 

St. Kitts 1778-1788 2,784 1,769 

Dominica 1784-1788 27,553 I 5^ 1 

Grenada 1784-1792 44*? 1 * 31,210 

According to Dundas, the total British West Indian importation for 
1791 amounted to 74,000, the re-exports to 34,000. Cobbett's Parliamentary 
History of England (referred to hereafter as Parl. Hist.), XXIX, 1206. 
April 23, 1792. 

20. B. Edwards, The History, Civil and Commercial, of the British 
Colonies in the West Indies (London, 1801), I, 299. 

21. J. Ramsay, A Manuscript entirely in his own hand mainly con- 
cerned with his activities towards the Abolition of the Slave Trade, 1787 
(Rhodes House Library, Oxford), f. 23 (v). "Memorial on the Supplying 
of the Navy with Seamen." 

22. W. Enfield, An Essay towards the history of Leverpool (London, 

23. Donnan, op. cit., II, 630. Liverpool's progress is seen from the 
following table: 

Year Liverpool London Bristol 

1720 21 60 39 

1753 64 13 27 

1771 107 58 23 


Between 1756 and 1786 Bristol sent 588 ships to Africa, Liverpool 1,858; 
between 1795 and 1804 Liverpool sent 1,099 vessels! to Africa, London 155, 
Bristol 29. (The figures for 1720 come from Some Matters of Fact . . ., 3; 
the others from Maclnnes, op. cit., 191.) 

24. Cobberfs Parliamentary Debates (Referred to hereafter as Parl. 
Deb.), IX, 127. George Hibbert, March 16, 1807. 

25. Correspondence between Robert Bostock, master mariner and mer- 
chant, and others, giving particulars of the slave trading of Liverpool 
ships in the West Indies, 1789-1792 (MS. Vol., Liverpool Public Library). 
Bostock to Capt. James Fryer, July 17, 1790. 

26. Maclnnes, op. cit., 202. 

27. T. Clarkson, History of the Rise, Progress, and Accomplishment of 
the Abolition of the African Slave Trade by the British Parliament (Lon- 
don, 1839), 197. 

28. Donnan, op. cit., I, 132. The Guinea Company to Francis Soane, 
Dec, 9, 1651. 

29. Journals of Liverpool Slave Ships ("Bloom" and others); with 
correspondence and prices of slaves sold (MS. Vol., Liverpool Public 
Library). Bostock to Knowles, June 19, 1788. 

30. E. Martin (ed.), Journal of a Slave Dealer. "A View of some 
'Remarkable Axcedents in the Life of Nics. Owen on the Coast of Africa 
and America from the year 1746 to the year 7757" (London, 1930), 77-78, 

31. La timer, op. cit., 144-145. 

32. A. P. Wadsworth and J. de L. Mann, The Cotton Trade and 
Industrial Lancashire (Manchester, 1931), 228-229. 

33. Donnan, op. cit., II, 625-627. 

34. Ibid., II, 631. 

35. Latimer, op. cit., 476; Wadsworth and Mann, op. cit., 225. 

36. Quoted from Sir Thomas Mun in J. E. Gillespie, The Influence of 
Oversea Expansion on England to /yoo (New York, 1920), 165. 

37. Donnan, op. cit., II, 627. 

38. J. Wallace, A General and Descriptive History of the Ancient and 
Present State of the Town of Liverpool . . . together with a Circum- 
stantial Account of the True Causes of its Extensive African Trade 
(Liverpool, 1795), 229-230. For instances of subdivision see also Wads- 
worth and Mann, op. cit., 224-225. 

39. Edwards, op. cit., II, 72, 74, 87-89; J. Atkins, A Voyage to Guinea, 
Brasil, and the West-Indies (London, 1735), 179. For an authoritative 
modern discussion, see M. J. Herskovits, The Myth of the Negro Past 
(New York, 1941), 34-50. 

40. Correspondence between Robert Bostock . . . Bostock to Fryer, 
Jan. 1790; Bostock to Flint, Nov. n, 1790. 

41. W. Sypher, Guinea 9 s Captive Kings, British Anti-Slavery Lit era- 
ture of the XVIllth Century (Chapel Hill, 1942), 170. The slaves were 
inspected as carefully as cattle in the Smithfield market, the chief qualities 

NOTES TO PAGES 38-42 221 

emphasized being height, sound teeth, pliant limbs, and lack of venereal 
disease. Atkins, op. cit., 180. 

42. E. F. Gay, "Letters from a Sugar Plantation in Nevis, 1723-1732," 
Journal of Economic and Business History (Nov., 1928), 164. 

43. Donnan, op. cit., II, 626. 

44. Correspondence between Robert Bostock . . ., Bostock to Cleveland, 
Aug. 10, 1789. 

45. T. Clarkson, Essay on the Impolicy of the African Slave Trade 
(London, 1788), 29. 

46. W. Roscoe, A General View of the African Slave Trade demon- 
strating its Injustice and Impolicy (London, 1788), 23-24. 

47. A. Mackenzie-Grieve, The Last Years of the English Slave Trade 
(London, 1941), 178. 

48. F. Caravaca, Esclavos! El Hombre Negro: Instrumento del Progreso 
del Blanco (Barcelona, 1933), 50. 

49. This was the Brandenburg Company, sometimes called, from its 
headquarters, the Emden Company. Incorporated in 1682, the company 
established two settlements on the African coast and unsuccessfully tried 
to obtain West Indian possessions. Donnan, op. cit., I, 103-104. 

50. Zook, op. cit., 11-12, 19. 

51. R. I. and S. Wilberforce, The Life of William Wilberforce (Lon- 
don, 1838), I, 343. George III had once whispered jestingly to the 
abolitionist at a levee: "How go on your black clients, Mr. Wilberforce?" 
In 1804 Wilberforce wrote to Muncaster that "it was truly humiliating 
to see, in the House of Lords, four of the Royal Family come down to 
vote against the poor, helpless, friendless slaves." Ibid., Ill, 182. July 
6, 1804. 

52. Correspondence between Robert Bostock . . ., Bostock to Fryer, 
May 24, 1792. The Duke was the recipient of a service of plate as "the 
poor but honourable testimony of the gratitude of the people of Jamaica." 
G. W. Bridges, The Annals of Jamaica (London, 1828), II, 263 n. 

53. Parl. Hist., XXX, 659. April n, 1793. 

54. Andrews, op. cit., IV, 61. 

55. C. M. Andrews, "Anglo-French Commercial Rivalry, 1700-1750," 
American Historical Revievj (April, 1915), 546. 

56. Donnan, op. cit., II, 45. 

57. H. of C. Sess. Pap., Accounts and Papers, 1795-1796. A. & P. 42, 
Series No. 100, Document 848, 1-21. 

58. Add. MSS. 12433 (British Museum), ff. 13, 19. Edward Law, May 
14, 1792. 

59. P. Cunningham (ed.), The Letters of Horace Walpole (London, 
1891), II, 197. To Sir H. Mann, Feb. 25, 1750. 

60. Parl. Hist., XVII, 507-508. May 5, 1772. 

61. R. Terry, Some Old Papers relating to the Newport Slave Tirade 
(Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society, July, 1927), 10. 

62. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, X, 611. Evidence of 

222 NOTES TO PAGES 42-44 

Barbados planters before the Lords of Trade and Plantations, Oct. 8, 1680. 
For a vigorous dissent from the view that the slaves had no means of 
communication except in the language of their masters, see Herskovits, 
op. cit., 70-81. 

63. Calendar of State Papers, XIV, 448. Governor Russell, March 23, 

64. See infra, p. 108. The governor of Barbados opposed the building 
of churches on the ground that permission to the Negroes thus to as- 
semble would turn their minds to plots and insurrections. C.O. 28 92 
(Public Record Office), Nov. 4, 1823. The planters justified their attitude 
by the plea that the missionaries instilled dangerous notions into the 
heads of the slaves which were subversive of plantation discipline. 

65. Lecky, op. cit., II, 249. 

66. Sypher, op. cit., 14. 

67. V. T. Harlow, Christopher Codrington (Oxford, 1928), 211, 215. 

68. Sypher, op. cit., 65. 

69. Larimer, op. cit., 100. 

70. Ibid., 478. 

71. S. H. Swinny, The Humanitarianism of the Eighteenth Century 
and its results, in F. S. Marvin (ed.), Western Races and the World 
(Oxford, 1922), 130-131. 

72. L. Strachey, Eminent Victorians (Phoenix ed., London, 1929), 3. 

73. Mackenzie-Grieve, op. cit., 162. 

74. G. R. Wynne, The Church in Greater Britain (London, 1911), 120. 

75. H. of C. Sess. Pap., 1837-8, Vol. 48. The exact figure was 12,729.4.4 
(pp. 19, 22). 

76. Wynne, op. cit., 120; C. J. Abbey and J. H. Overton, The English 
Church in the Eighteenth Century (London, 1878), II, 107. 

77. Abbey and Overton, op. cit., II, 106. 

78. A. T. Gary, The Political and Economic Relations of English and 
American Quakers, 1750-178$ (Oxford University D. Phil. Thesis, 1935), 
506. The copy examined was deposited in the Library of Friends' House, 

79. H. J. Cadbury, Colonial Quaker Antecedents to British Abolition of 
Slavery (Friends' House, London, 1933), i. 

80. Gary, op. cit., 173-174. 

8 1. See Liverpool Papers, Add. MSS. 38227 (British Museum), f. 202, 
for an undated letter of Lord Hawkesbury, President of the Privy 
Council, to Lord Rodney, agreeing to use Rodney's proxy. Hawkesbury 
promised to "make the best use of it in defending the island of Jamaica 
and the other West India islands which his Lordship so gloriously de- 
fended against a foreign enemy on the memorable i2th. April," and he 
expressed his sorrow that only a severe fit of the gout prevented Rodney 
from "attending Parliament and affording his personal support to those 
who are in so much want of it." 

82. Part, Deb., VIII, 669. Feb. 5, 1807. 

NOTES TO PAGES 44-48 223 

83. F. J. Klingberg, The Anti-Slavery Movement in England (New 
Haven, 1926), 127. 

84. H. of C. Sess. Pap., 1837-8, Vol. 48. The exact figure is 6,207.7.6 
(pp. 49, 62). 

85. Bready, op. cit., 341. 

86. Zook, op. cit., 18. 

87. Swinny, op. cit., 140. 

88. G. Williams, History of the Liverpool Privateers, with an Account 
of the Liverpool Slave Trade (Liverpool, 1897), 473-474. 

89. Latimer, op. cit., 147. 

90. M. Steen, The Sun is My Undoing (New York, 1941), 50. 

91. M. D. George, London Life in the Eighteenth Century (London, 
1925), 137-138. 

92. H. T. Catterall, Judicial Cases concerning Negro Slavery (Wash- 
ington, D. C., 1926-1927), 1, 9, 12. 

93. Bready, op. cit., 104-105. 

94. R. Coupland, The British Anti-Slavery Movement (London, 1933), 


95. Sypher, op. cit., 63. 

96. Catterall, op. cit., I, 19-20; W. Massey, A History of England during 
the Reign of George the Third (London, 1865), III, 178-179. 

97. Anonymous, Recollections of Old Liverpool, by a Nonagenarian 
(Liverpool, 1863), 10. 

98. Ramsay, MS. Vol., f. 65. "An Address on the Proposed Bill for the 
Abolition of the Slave Trade." 

99. G. Williams, op. cit., 586. 

100. Hansard, Third Series, CIX, 1102. Hutt, March 19, 1850. 

101. H. W. Preston, Rhode Island and the Sea (Providence, 1932), 70, 
73. The author was Director of the State Bureau of Information. 

102. Latimer, op. cit., 142. 

103. J. W. D. Powell, Bristol Privateers and Ships of War (London, 
1930), 167. 

104. H. R. F. Bourne, English Merchants, Memoirs in Illustration of 
the Progress of British Commerce (London, 1866), II, 63; J. B. Botsford, 
English Society in the Eighteenth Century as Influenced from Oversea 
(New York, 1924), 122; Enfield, op. cit., 48-49. For Blundell's slave trad- 
ing, see Donnan, op. ch. y II, 492. 

105. For Cunliffe, see Bourne, op. cit., II, 57; Botsford, op. cit., 122; 
Enfield, op. cit., 43, 49; Donnan, op. cit., II, 492, 497. 

1 06. Donnan, op. cit., II, 631; J. Hughes, Liverpool Banks and Bankers, 
/76o-/#/7 (Liverpool, 1906), 174. 

107. L. H. Grindon, Manchester Banks and Bankers (Manchester, 1878), 
55, 79-80, 187-188; Bourne, op. cit., II, 64, 78; Botsford, op. cit., 122; 
Donnan, op. cit., II, 492. 

1 08. Donnan, op. cit., I, 169-172. 

109. Ibid., II, 468. 

224 NOTES TO PAGES 48-53 

1 10. Larimer, op. cit., 476-477. 

in. For examples, see Wadsworth and Mann, op. cit., 216 n; Hughes, 
op. cit., 109, 139, 172, 174, 176; Donnan, op. cit., II, 492 n. 

112. L. B. Namier, "Antony Bacon, an Eighteenth Century Merchant," 
Journal of Economic and Business History (Nov., 1929), 21. 

113. Donnan, op. cit., II, 642-644, 656-657 n. 

114. Parl. Deb., IX, 170. March 23, 1807. 

115. Ibid., VII, 230. May 16, 1806. 

1 1 6. Wilberforce, Life of Wilberforce, III, 170. Wilberforce to John 
Newton, June, 1804. 

117. CO. 137/91. Petition of Committee of Jamaica House of Assembly 
on the Sugar and Slave Trade, Dec. 5, 1792. 

118. Sypher, op. cit., 157-158, 162-163, 186-188, 217-219. 

119. Ibid.) 59; Bready, op. cit., 341. 

120. Parl. Hist., XIX, 305. May 23, 1777. 

121. Bready, op. cit., 102. 

122. Postlethwayt, Great Britain's Commercial Interest . . ., II, 217-218; 
Savary des Bruslons, The Universal Dictionary of Trade and Commerce. 
With large additions and improvements by M. Postlethwayt (London, 
1751), I, 25. It is not true to say, as Sypher does (op. cit., 84), that 
Postlethwayt "takes a dark view" of the slave trade. 

123. W. Snelgrave, A New Account of Guinea and the Slave Trade 
(London, 1754), 160-161. 


1. Adam Smith, op. cit., 415-416, 500-591. 

2. W. Wood, A Survey of Trade (London, 1718), Part III, 193. 

3. J. F. Rees, "The Phases of British Commercial Policy in the Eight- 
eenth Century," Economica (June, 1925), 143. 

4. Gee, op. cit., in. 

5. Postlethwayt, The African Trade, the Great Pillar . . ., 4, 6. 

6. Cambridge History of the British Empire, I, 565. 

7. Whitworth, op. cit., II, 20. 

8. J. Bennett, Two Letters and Several Calculations on the Sugar 
Colonies and Trade (London, 1738), 55. 

9. Wood, op. cit., 156. 

10. Sir D. Thomas, An Historical Account of the Rise and Growth of 
the West India Colonies, and of the Great Advantages they are to Eng- 
land, in respect to Trade (London, 1690). The essay is printed in the 
Harleian Miscellany, II, 347. 

n. Pitman, The Settlement . . . of British West India Plantations . . ., 

NOTES TO PAGES 53~55 225 

12. Report of the Committee of Privy Council, 1788, Part IV, No. 18, 

13. J. H. Rose, William Pitt and the Great War (London, 1911), 370, 

14. Adam Smith, op. cit., 366. 

15. Whitworth, op. cit., II, 18. 

1 6. The following tables have been compiled from Sir C. Whitworth, 
State of the Trade of Great Britain in its imports and exports, progres- 
sively from the year 1697-1773 (London, 1776), Part II, pp. 1-2, 47-50, 
53~7 2 75-76 78, 82-91. Trade figures are in pounds sterling. 

In the general percentages given in the text for West Indian and 
mainland trade, I have included in the West Indies figures for 1714-1773 
trade with minor places, such as St. Croix, Monte Christi, St. Eustatius, 
and also trade with islands conquered by Britain in war but later restored 
e.g., Cuba, Guadeloupe, etc. Similarly figures for the mainland, 1714- 
1773, include Canada, Florida, etc. For the comparative importance of 
these different areas, see Chapter VI, pp. 114-115, and note 36. 

In order to see these statistics in their proper perspective, general 
British trade figures must be included. They are as follows (Ibid., Part I, 
pp. 78-79.) 



British Imports 

British Exports 





















West Indies.. 







Mainland. . . . 











West Indies.. 


















West Indies.. 







Mainland. . . . 



II. 3 












Imports from and exports to the individual colonies are as follows: 


1697 1773 

1697 1773 




282OQ I 12770 

8O2O Q1121 




196532 168682 
7OOOO 1286888 

77465 148817 
40726 683451 



I 6844990 

Montserrat . . . 

14699 479II 
I 7OQ6 1Q2QQ 

3532 14947 
I1O4.1 Ql8l 



54.Q 564. 


1217/1 4.56511 

528Q 14.4.85Q 



New England. 
New York. . ., 
Pennsylvania . 
Virginia and 
Maryland.. . 

26282 124624 
10093 76246 

3347 36652 
227756 589803 


68468 527055 

4579 289214 

2997 426448 
58796 328904 






St. Kitts 






2O4. SI 



I 22O93 f 






St. Vincent . . . 
Spanish West 










863931 1| 

22OO38 1| 




West Indies 
in general . . 
Hudson's Bay. 




17. Bennett, op. cit. y 50, 54. 

1 8. Stock, op. cit.y IV, 329. Sir John Barnard, March 28, 1737. 

19. Posdethwayt, The African Trade, the Great Pillar . . ., 13-14. 

NOTES TO PAGES 55*59 227 

20. E. D. Ellis, An Introduction to the History of Sugar as a Com- 
modity (Philadelphia, 1905), 82. 

21. Whitworth, Works of Davenant, II, 10. 

22. H. See, Modern Capitalism, its Origin and Evolution (New York, 
1928), 104. 

23. L. A. Harper, The English Navigation Laws (New York, 1939), 

24. Andrews, The Colonial Period . . ., IV, 9. 

25. Ibid., IV, 65, 71, 126, 154-155. 

26. See the study by G. P. Insh, The Company of Scotland Trading to 
Africa and the Indies (London, 1932). 

27. Collins, op. cit., 143. 

28. Ibid., 157. In 1697 the governor of Jamaica asked for a relaxation 
of the Navigation Laws for seven years to ensure recovery. Calendar of 
State Papers, Colonial Series, XV, 386. Beeston to Blathwayt, Feb. 27, 1697. 

29. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, IX, 474-475. Oct. 26, 1676. 

30. Stock, op. cit., IV, 828. May 30, 1739. 

31. Andrews, The Colonial Period . . ., II, 264. 

32. Parl. Hist., XXIX, 343. Alderman Watson, April 18, 1791; Donnan, 
op. cit., II, 606. 

33. Holt and Gregson Papers (Liverpool Public Library), X, 429. 
Letter entitled "Commerce," in Gregson's handwriting, undated. 

34. G. L. Beer, The Old Colonial System (New York, 1933), I, 17. 

35. Ibid., I, 43 n. 

36. Stock, op. cit., Ill, 355. 

37. This proportion is obtained by taking the average of the 122,000 
tons for the West Indies in the five years 1710-1714, and comparing it 
with the figure of 243,600 tons engaged in foreign trade in 1709, given in 
A. P. Usher, "The Growth of English Shipping, 1572-1922," Quarterly 
Journal of Economics (May, 1928), 469. 

38. Usher, op. cit., 469. In 1787, 998,637 tons. 

39. Pitman, Development of the British West Indies, 66. 

40. R. Stewart-Browne, Liverpool Ships in the Eighteenth Century 
(Liverpool, 1932), 117, 119, 126-127, 130. For Baker and Dawson's slave 
trading with the Spanish colonies, see Donnan, op. cit., II, 577 n; Aimes, 
op. cit., 36; Report of the Committee of Privy Council, 1788, Part VI. 

41. Enfield, op. cit., 26, gives 5,067 seamen in 1771. Gregson says 3,000 
were employed in the slave trade. Holt and Gregson Papers, X, 434. Un- 
dated letter to T. Brooke, M.P. 

42. The shipping trades of London petitioned in 1708 in favor of the 
monopoly. Against the monopoly came two petitions from the ship- 
owners of Whitehaven in 1709 and 1710; three petitions from the ship- 
wrights of London and its environs in 1708 and 1710; and a petition from 
the shipwrights of several cities in 1709. Stock, op. cit., Ill, 204 n, 207 n, 
225 n, 226, 249, 250 n, 251. 

43. Holt and Gregson Papers, X, 375, 377. 

228 NOTES TO PAGES 59-64 

44. Enfield, op. cit., 89. 

45. Holt and Gregson Papers, X, 435. Gregson to Brooke. 

46. Maclnnes, op. cit., 337. 

47. Parl. Hist., XXIX, 343. Alderman Watson, April 18, 1791. 

48. J. G. Broodbank, History of the Port of London (London, 1921), 
I, 76-82, 89-108; W. S. Lindsay, A History of Merchant Shipping and 
Ancient Commerce (London, 1874-1876), II, 415-420. 

49. Latimer, op. cit., 6. 

50. W. N. Reid and J. E. Hicks, Leading Events in the History of the 
Port of Bristol (Bristol, n.d.), 106; J. Latimer, Annals of Bristol in the 
Seventeenth Century (Bristol, 1900), 334; W. Barrett, The History and 
Antiquities of the City of Bristol (Bristol, 1780), 186; J. A. Eraser, Spain 
and the West Country (London, 1935), 254-255. 

51. J. F. Nicholls and J. Taylor, Bristol Past and Present (Bristol, 1881- 
1882), III, 165. 

52. Maclnnes, op. cit., 335. 

53. Ibid., 202. 

54. Ibid., 233. 

55. Barrett, op. cit., 189. 

56. Ibid. Incoming ships from the West Indies amounted to 16,209 out 
of a total of 48,125 tons; outgoing ships to the West Indies represented 
16,913 out of a total of 46,729 tons. 

57. Maclnnes, op. cit., 236, 367. 

58. Ibid., 358, 370. 

59. Ibid., 228, 230, 235, 363, 370, 

60. H. of C. Sess. Pap., 1837-8, Vol. 48. The exact figure was ^62,335,0.5. 
The family owned 954 slaves outright, and was part owner of another 
456 (pages 117, 120, 132, 168). 

61. Maclnnes, op. cit., 371. 

62. Enfield, op. cit., 11-12. 

63. P. Mantoux, The Industrial Revolution in the Eighteenth Century 
(London, 1928), 108. 

64. Enfield, op. cit., 67. 

65. Eraser, op. cit., 254-255. 

66. Enfield, op. cit., 69. 

67. Mantoux, op. cit. 9 109. 

68. Clarkson, Essay on the Impolicy . . ., 123-125. 

69. J. Corry, The History of Lancashire (London, 1825), II, 690. 

70. H. Smithers, Liverpool, Its Commerce, Statistics and Institutions 
(Liverpool, 1825), 105. 

71. Mackenzie-Grieve, op. cit., 4. 

72. G. Williams, op. cit., 594. 

73. Holt and Gregson Papers, X, 367, 369, 371, 373. 

74. J. A. Picton, Memorials of Liverpool (London, 1873), I, 256. 

75. Maclnnes, op. cit., 191. 

NOTES TO PAGES 64-74 229 

76. J. Touzeau, The Rise and Progress of Liverpool from 1551 to 1835 
(Liverpool, 1910), II, 589, 745. 

77. "Robin Hood," "The Liverpool Slave Trade," The Commercial 
World and Journal of Transport (Feb. 25, 1893), pp. 8-10; (March 4, 
1893), p. 3. 

78. G. Eyre-Todd, History of Glasgow (Glasgow, 1934), III, 295. 

79. Donnan, op. cit., II, 567-568. 

80. Stock, op. cit., II, 109. 

81. Donnan, op. cit., I t 267. 

82. Stock, op. cit., II, 179. 

83. Donnan, op. cit., I, 413, 417-418; Stock, op. cit., II, 162 n, 186 n, III, 
207 n, 302 n. 

84. Donnan, op. cit., I, 379. 

85. I bid., 1,411,418 n. 

86. Stock, op. cit., II, 29 n, 89 n, 94, 186 n. 

87. Ibid., II, 20; III, 90, 224 n, 298; IV, 293-297. 

88. Ibid., IV, 161 n-i62 n. 

89. Ibid., Ill, 45. 

90. J. James, History of the Worsted Manufacture in England from 
the Earliest Times (London, 1857), appendix, p. 7. 

91. A. S. Turberville, Johnson's England (Oxford, 1933), I, 231-232. 

92. Wadsworth and Mann, op. cit., 147-166. 

93. Holt and Gregson Papers, X, 422-423. 

94. Report of the Committee of Privy Council, 1788, Part VI. Evidence 
of Mr. Taylor. 

95. Holt and Gregson Papers, X, 423. 

96. Donnan, op. cit., II, 337 n, 521-522 n. 

97. Wadsworth and Mann, op. cit., 149, 156-157, 231, 233, 243-247, 447. 

98. Ibid., 229 n, 231, 231 n. 

99. Cambridge History of the British Empire, II, 224; Wadsworth and 
Mann, op. cit., 190. 

100. The British import figures are given in J. Wheeler, Manchester, its 
Political, Social and Commercial History, Ancient and Modern (Man- 
chester, 1842), 148, 170; the West Indian imports in L. J. Ragatz, Statistics 
for the Study of British Caribbean History, 1763-1833 (London, n.d.), 15, 
Table VI. 

1 01. Wadsworth and Mann, op. cit., 169. 

102. Fraser, op. cit., 241. 

103. Latimer, Annals of Bristol in the Eighteenth Century, 302; Pitman, 
Development of the British West Indies, 340. 

104. Nicholls and Taylor, op. cit., Ill, 34. 

105. Latimer, Annals of Bristol in the Seventeenth Century, 280-281, 

1 06. The Ne*w Bristol Guide (Bristol, 1799), 70. 

107. Donnan, op. cit., II, 602-604. 

230 NOTES TO PAGES 74-80 

108. Reid and Hicks, op. cit., 66; Maclnnes, op. cit., 371. 

109. Larimer, Annals of Bristol in the Seventeenth Century, 44-45, 88. 

1 10. Bourne, op. cit., II, 17-18; Botsford, op. cit., 120, 123. 

HI. H. of C. Sess. Pap., 1837-8, Vol. 48. The exact sum was 17,868.16.8 
(pages 68-69, 167-168). 

112. Eyre-Todd, op. cit., Ill, 39-40, 150-154. 

113. Enfield, op. cit., oo; T. Kaye, The Stranger in Liverpool; or, an 
Historical and Descriptive View of the Town of Liverpool and its 
environs (Liverpool, 1829), 184. For the Branckers and the slave trade, 
see Donnan, op. cit., II, 655 n. 

1 14. Stock, ap. cit., I, 385, 390. 

115. Whitworth, Works of Davenant, II, 37. 

1 1 6. C. W. Cole, French Mercantilism, 1683-1700 (New York, 1943), 
87-88. The prohibition is still in operation today. See J. E. Dalton, Sugar, 
A Case Study of Government Control (New York, 1937), 265-274. 

117. Bennett, op. cit., Introduction, p. xxvii. 

1 1 8. Anonymous, Some Considerations humbly offered upon the Bill 
now depending in the House of Lords, relating to the Trade between the 
Northern Colonies and the Sugar-Islands (London, 1732), 15. 

119. F. Cundall, The Governors of Jamaica in the First Half of the 
Eighteenth Century (London, 1937), 178. 

1 20. Parl. Hist., XIV, 1293-1294. Jan. 26, 1753; Anonymous, An Ac- 
count of the Late Application to Parliament from the Sugar Refiners, 
Grocers, etc., of the Cities of London and Westminster, the Borough of 
Southwark, and of the City of Bristol (London, 1753), 3-5, 43. 

121. Stock, op. cit., V, 559. March 23, 1753. 

122. H. of C. Sess. Pap., Reports, Miscellaneous, 1778-1782, Vol. 35, 
1781. Report from the Committee to whom the Petition of the Sugar 
Refiners of London was referred. See especially the evidence of Frances 

123. Stock, op. cit., IV, 132 n; Ragatz, Statistics . . ., 17, Table XI. 

124. Saugnier and Brisson, Voyages to the Coast of Africa (London, 
1792), 285. 

125. R. Muir, A History of Liverpool (London, 1907), 107. 

126. Donnan, op. cit., II, 529 n. 

127. Stock, op. cit., IV, 303, 306, 309. 

128. Anonymous, Short Animadversions on the Difference now set 
up between Gin and Rum, and Our Mother Country and Colonies (Lon- 
don, 1769), 8-9. 

129. Stock, op. cit., IV, 310. 

130. Windham Papers (British Museum), Add. MSS. 37886, ff. 125-128. 
"Observations on the proposal of the West India Merchants to substitute 
sugar in the distilleries instead of barley." Anonymous, probably 1807. 

131. Hansard, Third Series, V, 82. July 20, 1831. 

132. E. R. Johnson, et al., History of Domestic and Foreign Commerce 

NOTES TO PAGES 8l-86 231 

of the United States (Washington, D. G, 1915), I, 118. The exports to 
Africa were 292,966 gallons out of total exports of 349,281. 

133. J. Corry and J. Evans, The History of Bristol, Civil and Ecclesias- 
tical (Bristol, 1816), II, 307-308; Saugnier and Brisson, op. cit., 296-299. 

134. Saugnier and Brisson, op. cit., 217. 

135. Stock, op. cit., II, 264 n. 

136. Donnan, op. cit., I, 234 n, 300 n. 

137. lbid.,1, 256, 262; 11,445. 

138. Ibid., I, 283. 

139. Stock, op. cit., Ill, 207 n, 225 n, 250 n, 278 n (Birmingham); 204 n, 
228 n (London). 

140. Donnan, op. cit., II, 98. 

141. W. H. B. Court, The Rise of the Midland Industries (Oxford, 
1938), 145-146. 

142. T. S. Ashton, Iron and Steel in the Industrial Revolution (Man- 
chester, 1924), 195. 

143. Stock, op. cit., IV, 434. 

144. R. K. Dent, The Making of Birmingham: being a History of the 
Rise and Growth of the Midland Metropolis (Birmingham, 1804), 147. 

145. H. Hamilton, The English Brass and Copper Industries to 1800 
(London, 1926), 137-138, 149-151, 286-292. 

146. E. Shiercliff, The Bristol and Hofwell Guide (Bristol, 1789), 16. 

147. A. H. Dodd, The Industrial Revolution in North Wales (Cardiff, 

i933)> 156-157- 

148. Donnan, op. cit., I, 237. 

149. Stewart-Browne, op. cit., 52-53. 

150. Donnan, op. cit., II, 610-611. 

151. Ibid., II, 609. 

152. H. Scrivenor, A Comprehensive History of the Iron Trade 
(London, 1841), 344-346, 347-355. The percentages have been computed 
from tables given. 


1. Adam Smith, op. cit., 158. 

2. R. Cumberland, The West Indian: A Comedy (London, 1775 edi- 
tion) , Act I, Scene III. A brief notice of the play is given in Sypher, op. 
ch. y 239. 

3. Stock, op. cit., V, 259. William Beckford, Feb. 8, 1747. 

4. F. W. Pitman, "The West Indian Absentee Planter as a British 
Colonial Type" (Proceedings of the Pacific Coast Branch of the Ameri- 
can Historical Association, 1927), 113. 

5. Whitworth, Works of Davenant, II, 7. 

232 NOTES TO PAGES 86-90 

6. Cumberland, op. cit., Act I, Scene V. Quoted also in Pitman, The 
West Indian Absentee Planter . . ., 124. 

7. Pitman, The West Indian Absentee Planter . . ., 125. 

8. Merivale, op. cit., 82-83. 

9. L. J. Ragatz, Absentee Landlordism in the British Caribbean, 1750- 
1833 (London, n.d), 8-20; Pitman, The West Indian Absentee Planter . . ., 

10. R. M. Howard (ed.), Records and Letters of the Family of the 
Longs of Longville, Jamaica, and Hampton Lodge, Surrey (London, 
*9*5) I 11-12; Cundall, The Governors of Jamaica in the Seventeenth 
Century, 26. 

11. J. Britton, Graphical and Literary Illustrations of Fonthill Abbey, 
Wiltshire, with Heraldical and Genealogical Notices of the Beckford 
Family (London, 1823), 25-26. 

12. Ibid., 26-28, 35, 39. 

13. H. of C. Sess. Pap., 1837-38, Vol. 48. The exact amount was 
15,160.2.9 (pp. 20-21, 64-65). 

14. J. Murch, Memoir of Robert Hibbert, Esquire (Bath, 1874), 5-6, 
15, 18-19, 97i 99* 104-105. 

15. Broodbank, op. cit., I, 102-103; A. Beaven, The Aldermen of the 
City of London (London, 1908-1913), II, 203. 

16. H. of C. Sess. Pap., 1837-38, Vol. 48. The precise figure was 31,- 
121.16.0 (pp. 20, 22,46, 52,67, 79). 

17. See inside cover page of the first issue of the Hibbert Journal. The 
family mansion, in Duke Street, Kingston, Jamaica, was erected by 
Thomas Hibbert who arrived in the island in 1734. Called at first 
"Hibbert's House," it served for some time as the headquarters of the 
Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and was popularly known as 
Headquarters House. It later housed the Colonial Secretary's office and 
the Legislative Council Chamber. See Papers relating to the Preservation 
of Historic Sites and Ancient Monuments and Buildings in the West 
Indian Colonies, Cd. 6428 (His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1912), 13. 

1 8. Howard, op. cit., I, 67, 71. 

19. Ibid., I, 177. 

20. C. De Thierry, "Distinguished West Indians in England," United 
Empire (Oct., 1912), 831. 

21. Anonymous, Fortunes made in Business (London, 1884), II, 117- 
119, 122-124, 130, 134; Bourne, op. cit., II, 303. 

22. Correspondence between John Gladstone, M.P. and James Cropper, 
on the present state of Slavery in the British West Indies and in the 
United States of America, and on the Importation of Sugar from the 
British Settlements in India (Liverpool, 1824). 

23. H. of C. Sess. Pap., 1837-38, Vol. 48. The exact sum was 85,606.0.2 
(pp. 23, 58, 120-121). 

24. Harlow, Christopher Codrington, 210, 242. 

NOTES TO PAGES 90-93 233 

25. A. Warner, Sir Thomas Warner, Pioneer of the West Indies 
(London, 1933), 119-123, 126, 132. 

26. Edwards, op. cit., I, Introduction, p. ix. 

27. Maclnnes, op. cit.j 308-310. 

28. C. Wright and C. E.'Fayle, A History of Lloyd's, from the Founding 
of Lloyd's Coffee House to the Present Day (London, 1928), 286. 

29. Eyre-Todd, op. cit., Ill, 151-152. 

30. L. J. Ragatz, The Fall of the Planter Class in the British Caribbean, 
1763-1833 (New York, 1928), 51. 

31. Par/. Hist.) XXXIV, 1102. Duke of Clarence, July 5, 1799. 

32. Ragatz, Fall of the Planter Class . . ., 50. 

33. Botsford, op. cit., 148; A. Ponsonby, English Diaries (London, 1923), 

34. Maclnnes, op. cit.j 236. 

35. Bready, op. cit., 157. 

36. G. W. Dasent, Annals of an Eventful Life (London, 1870), I, 9-10. 

37. Sypher, op. cit., 255. 

38. L. B. Namier, The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George 
III (London, 1929), I, 210. 

39. L. M. Penson, The Colonial Agents of the British West Indies 
(London, 1924), 185-187. 

40. A. S. Turberville, English Men and Manners in the Eighteenth 
Century (Oxford, 1926), 134. 

41. Lecky, op. cit., 1, 251, quoting Bolingbroke. 

42. Cumberland, op. cit., Act I, Scene V. Also quoted in Pitman, The 
West Indian Absentee Planter . . ., 124. 

43. J. Larimer, Annals of Bristol in the Nineteenth Century (Bristol, 
1887), 137-138. 

44. Recollections of Old Liverpool, 76-82. Significant of the new trend, 
the West Indian's rival, William Ewart, who was to play a prominent 
part in destroying West Indian slavery and monopoly, was supported 
among others by such names as Brancker and Earle, whose connections 
with slavery and the slave trade have already been noted. John Bolton 
received 15,391.17.11 for 289 slaves in British Guiana. H. of C. Sess. Pap., 
1837-8, Vol. 48 (page 131). In 1798 Bolton had six ships which sailed to 
Africa and transported 2,534 slaves. Donnan, op. cit., II, 642-644. 

45. Penson, op. cit., 176. 

46. Enfield, op. cit., 92. 

47. C. De Thierry, "Colonials at Westminster," United Empire, (Jan., 
1912), 80. 

48. Beaven, op. cit., II, 139. 

49. Reid and Hicks, op. cit., 57. 

50. Fortunes made in Business, II, 127, 129-131. 

51. Hansard, Third Series, LXXVIII, 469. John Bright, March 7, 1845. 

52. De Thierry, "Colonials at Westminster," 80. 

234 NOTES TO PAGES 94-96 

53. Hansard, Third Series, XVIII, in. May 30, 1833. 

54. H. of C. Sess. Pap., 1837-8, Vol. 48. The compensation paid was 
4,866.19.11 (page 19). 

55. Ragatz, Fall of the Planter Class . . ., 53. 

56. De Thierry, "Colonials at Westminister," 80. 

57. Hansard, Third Series, X, 1238. March 7, 1832. 

58. H. of C. Sess. Pap., 1837-8, Vol. 48. The sum paid was 12,281.5.10 
(pages 24, 53). 

59. CO. 1 37/1 oo. Balcarres to Portland, Sept. 16, 1798. 

60. Anonymous, A Report of the Proceedings of the Committee of 
Sugar Refiners for the purpose of effecting a reduction in the high prices 
of sugar, by lowering the bounty of refined sugar exported, and correcting 
the evils of the West India monopoly (London, 1792), 34. 

61. Anonymous, A Merchant to his Friend on the Continent: Letters 
Concerning the Slave Trade (Liverpool, n.d.). To Lord Hawkesbury, "as 
a patron to the trade of this country in general, and a favorer of that, the 
subject of these letters." 

62. Liverpool Papers, Add. MSS. 38223, ff. 170, 175. Sept. 8, and 12, 

63. Ibid., Add. MSS. 38231, f. 59. Thomas Naylor, Mayor, to Hawkes- 
bury, July 10, 1796; f. 60, Minutes of the Common Council, July 6, 1796; 
f. 64, Hawkesbury to Naylor, July 16, 1706. 

64. Bourne, op. cit., II, 135 n. Macaulay described him as "a noisy, 
purse-proud, illiterate demagogue, whose Cockney English and scraps 
of mispronounced Latin were the jest of the newspapers." Ibid. To 
Horace Walpole he was "a noisy vapouring fool." The Letters of Horace 
Walpole, V, 248. Walpole to Earl of Stratford, July 9, 1770. Beckford's 
Latin scholarship is illustrated by his famous "omnium meum mecum 
porto." Beaven, op. cit., II, 211. This was only to be expected from a 
product of a society which talked only of planting and to which Dryden 
was nothing but a name. Steen, op. cit., 430, 433. 

65. Guide to the Guildhall of the City of London (London, 1927), 

66. Beaven, op. cit., II, 139. 

67. R. Pares, War and Trade in the West Indies, 1739-1763 (Oxford, 
1936), 509. 

68. E. J. Stapleton (ed.), Some Official Correspondence of George 
Canning (London, 1887), I, 134. To Liverpool, Jan. 9, 1824. "This most 
fearful question. . . . There are knots which can not be suddenly dis- 
entangled, and must not be cut. . . . Care should be taken not to con- 
found . . . what is morally true with what is historically false. . . . We 
cannot legislate in this House as if we were legislating for a new world." 
Hansard, New Series, IX, 275, 278, 282. May 15, 1823. 

69. Despatches, Correspondence and Memoranda of Field Marshal 
Arthur, Duke of Wellington (London, 1867-1880), V, 603. Memorandum 
for Sir George Murray, May 16, 1829. 

NOTES TO PAGES 96-102 235 

70. Huskisson Papers (British Museum), Add. MSS. 38745, fT. 182-183. 
To Joseph Sandars, Jan. 22, 1824. See also Ibid., f. 81: "It appears to me 
not immaterial that the President of the Board of Trade and member 
for Liverpool should get out as soon as he can." Huskisson to Canning 
on his membership in the Anti-Slavery Society, Nov. 2, 1823. 

71. Ibid., Add. MSS. 38752, f. 26. Huskisson to Horton, Nov. 7, 1827. 
For Canning's letter of resignation from the Board of Governors of the 
African Institution, see Ibid., Add. MSS. 38745, ff. 60-70. Oct. 26, 1823. 

72. Ibid., Add. MSS. 38752, ff. 26-27. 

73. W. Smart, Economic Annals of the Nineteenth Century (London, 
1910-1917), II, 545. 

74. The Right in the West India Merchants to a Double Monopoly of 
the Sugar-Market of Great Britain, and the Expedience of all Monopolies, 
examined (London, n.d.), 59-60. 

75. Stock, op. cit., V, 261. Feb. 8, 1747. 

76. Cundall, The Governors of Jamaica in the Seventeenth Century, 

77. Parl. Hist., XIII, 641. Feb. 13, 1744. 

78. Ibid., 652, 655. Feb. 20, 1744. 

79. Pares, op. cit., 508-509. 

80. Penson, op. cit., 228. 


1. Hughes, op. cit., 56-57, 217. 

2. Ibid., 91-97, 101; Grindon, op. cit., 42, 54, 79-82, 185-189; Botsford, 
op. cit., 122; Bourne, op. cit., II, 78-79; Donnan, op. cit., II, 493, 656. 

3. Hughes, op. cit., 170-174. In 1799 Leyland had four ships in the slave 
trade, which carried 1,641 slaves. Donnan, op. cit., II, 646-649. 

4. Hughes, op. cit., 74-79, 84-85, 107-108, in, 133, 138-141, 162, 165-166, 
196-198, 220-221. For the Earles see Botsford, op. cit., 123; Bourne, op. cit., 
II, 64. In 1799 the Earles had three ships in the slave trade, which carried 
969 slaves; Ingram, in 1798, three ships, with 1,005 slaves; Bold, in 1799, 
two ships, with 539 slaves. Donnan, op. cit., II, 642-649. 

5. Larimer, Annals of Bristol in the Eighteenth Century, 297-208, 392, 
468, 507; Annals of Bristol in the Nineteenth Century, 113, 494; Bourne, 
op. cit., II, 1 8. 

6. C. W. Barclay, A History of the Barclay Family (London, 1924- 
1934), III, 235, 242-243, 246-247, 249; Gary, op. cit., 194, 221, 455, 506; 
Bourne, op. cit., II, 134-135; Botsford, op. cit., 120-121, 295. Another 
prominent banking name in London associated with the slave trade was 
Baring. Gary, op. cit., 506. 

7. Eyre-Todd, op. cit., Ill, 151, 218-220, 245, 372; J. Buchanan, Banking 
in Glasgow during the olden time (Glasgow, 1862), 5-6, 17, 23-26, 30-34. 

236 NOTES TO PAGES 103-106 

8. J. Lord, Capital and Steam-Power, 1750-1850 (London, 1923), 113. 

9. Ibid.j 192. 

10. Liverpool Papers, Add. MSS. 38227, rT. 43, 50, 140, 141. Sept. 7 and 
14, Nov. 15 and 17, 1791. 

n. Namier, "Antony Bacon . . .," 25-27, 32, 39, 41, 43; Ashton, op. cit., 
52, 136, 241-242; J. H. Clapham, An Economic History of Modern 
Britain, The Early Railway ' Age, 1820-1850 (Cambridge, 1930), 187-188. 

12. Beaven, op. cit., II, 131. 

13 Ashton, op. cit., 157. 

14. F. Martin, The History of Lloyd's and of Marine Insurance in Great 
Britain (London, 1876), 62. 

15. Wright and Fayle, op. cit., 19, 91, 151, 212, 218-219, 243, 293, 327. 
Other prominent names associated with Lloyd's were Baring, and the 
abolitionists, Richard Thornton and Zachary Macaulay. Ibid., 196-197. 

16. H. of C. Sess. Pap., 1837-8, Vol. 48. The exact figure was 15,095.4.4 
(pp. 12, 165, 169). 

17. Clapham, op. cit., 286. 

1 8. Wright and Fayle, op. cit., 240-241. 

19. Callender, op. cit., 78-79. 

20. Dodd, op. cit., 37, 91, 125, 204-208, 219. See also C. R. Fay, Imperial 
Economy and its place in the formation of Economic Doctrine (Oxford, 

21. Huskisson Papers, Add. MSS. 38745, ff. 182-183. Huskisson to 
Sandars, Jan. 22, 1824, agreeing with his withdrawal. See also J. Francis, 
A History of the English Railway; its Social Relations and Revelations, 
1820-1845 (London, 1851), 1,93. 

22. See Hansard, VI, 919, where Gascoyne opposed the prohibition of 
the British slave trade to new colonies conquered during the Napoleonic 
wars as a violation of faith. April 25, 1806. For Gladstone, see Francis, 
op. cit., I, 123; F. S. Williams, Our Iron Roads: their history, construction) 
and social influences (London, 1852), 323-324, 337. For Moss, see Francis, 
op. cit., I, 123; Hughes, op. cit., 197-198. 

23. V. Sommerfield, English Railways, their beginnings, development 
and personalities (London, 1937), 34-38; Latimer, Annals of Bristol in 
the Nineteenth Century, m, 189-190. Three of the directors were con- 
nected with the West Indies, and subscribed 51,800 out of 217,500. 

24. Lord, op. cit., 166. 

25. Scrivenor, op. cit., 86-87. In 1740: 17,350 tons in 89 furnaces; in 
1788: 68,300 tons in 85 furnaces. 

26. Wheeler, op. cit., 148, 170. Imports: from 1,985,868 to 6,700,000 
pounds; exports: from 23,253 to 355,060. 

27. W. T. Jackman, The Development of Transportation in Modern 
England (Cambridge, 1916), II, 514 n. From 19,837 to 27,246. 

28. Butterworth, op. cit., 57; Wheeler, op. cit. y 171. From 20,000 to 


29. Lord, op. cit., 143. 

30. Mantoux, op. cit., 102-103. 

31. Adam Smith, op. cit., 549, 555, 558-559, 567, 573, 576, 579, 581, 595, 

32. Ibid., 577- 


1. Johnson, op. cit., I, 118-119. The proportions have been computed 
from the table of exports given. 

2. Pitman, Development of the British West Indies, Preface, p. vii. 

3. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, F, 382. Governor Wil- 
loughby, May 12, 1666; Ibid., V, 414. John Reid to Secretary Arlington, 
1666 (?) 

4. Postlethwayt, Universal Dictionary . . ., II, 767. 

5. Callender, op. cit., 96, quoting American Husbandry (1775). 

6. Ibid., 96. 

7. Cambridge History of the British Empire, I, 572. 

8. Andrews, The Colonial Period . . ., I, 72. 

9. Cambridge History of the British Empire, I, 564. 

10. Andrews, The Colonial Period . . ., I, 497-409. 

11. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, I, 420-430. Sept. 26, 1655. 
Governor Winthrop opposed emigration as "displeasing" to God. R. C. 
Winthrop, Life and Letters of John Winthrop (Boston, 1864-1867), II, 

12. Whitworth, Works of Davenant, II, 9, 21, 22. 

13. H. A. Innis, The Cod Fisheries, the History of an International 
Economy (New Haven, 1940), 78. 

14. Stock, op. cit., V, 259. William Beckford, Feb. 8, 1747. 

15. Callender, op. cit., 78. 

1 6. P. W. Bid well and J. I. Falconer, History of Agrictdture in the 
Northern United States, 1620-1820 (New York, 1941), 43. 

17. Harlow, A History of Barbados . . ., 272. 

1 8. Ibid., 268. 

19. Andrews, The Colonial Period . . ., IV, 347. 

20. Harlow, A History of Barbados . . ., 287. 

21. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, VII, 4. John Style to 
Secretary Morrice, Jan. 14, 1669. 

22. Ibid., X, 297. "Narrative and Disposition of Capt. Breedon concern- 
ing New England," Oct. 17, 1678. 

23. Stock, op. cit., II, 269. Jan. 27, 1698. 

24. A. M. Whitson, "The Outlook of the Continental American Colo- 
nies on the British West Indies, 1760-1775," Political Science Quarterly 
(March, 1930), 61-63. 

238 NOTES TO PAGES 112-Iiy 

25. Innis, op. cit., 134-135. 

26. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, V, 167. Renatus Enys to 
Secretary Bennet, Nov. i, 1663: "The sworn enemies of the colony are 
the Dons of Barbadoes . . .; they use the utmost means to disparage the 

27. Ibid., XI, 431. Governor Lynch to Governor Stapleton of the Lee- 
ward Islands, May 16, 1683. 

28. Part. Hist., XVII, 482-485. April 29, 1772. The question is discussed 
in C. Wilson, Anglo-Dutch Commerce and Finance in the Eighteenth 
Century (Cambridge, 1941), 182-183. 

29. Pares, op. cit., 220. 

30. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, V, 167. Governor Wil- 
loughby, Nov. 4, 1663. 

31. Pitman, Development of the British West Indies, 70-71; Stock, 
op. cit., IV, 97. 

32. Bennett, op. cit., 22-25. 

33. Postlcthwayt, Great Britain's Commercial Interest . . ., I, 494; 
Postlcthwayt, Universal Dictionary . . ., I, 869; An Account of the late 
application . . . from the Sugar Refiners, 4; Stock, op. cit., IV, 101. 

34. Pares, op. cit., 180. 

35. J. Almon, Anecdotes of the Life of the Right Honourable William 
Pitt, Earl of Chatham, and of the principal events of his time (London, 
1797), III, 222, 225. The quotations came from a contemporary pamphlet, 
Letter from a Gentleman in Guadeloupe to his Friend in London (1760), 
which is reproduced by Almon. 

36. Whitworth, State of the Trade of Great Britain . . ., Part II, pp. 
85-86. The figures for Canada and Florida are as follows: 

British Imports from British Exports to 

Canada ^448563 2383679 

Florida i 79993 375<>68 

For Grenada and Dominica, see Chapter III, note 16, supra. 

37. Pares, op. cit., 219. 

38. Almon, op. cit., Ill, 225. 

39. Pares, op. cit., 224. 

40. Stock, op. cit., V, 461. March 7, 1750. 

41. Whitson, op. cit., 73. 

42. Stock, op. cit., V, 537 n. 

43. Anonymous, The Importance of the Sugar Colonies to Great 
Britain Stated (London, 1730,7. 

44. Stock, op. cit., IV, 136. Thomas Winnington, Feb. 23, 1731. 

45. Ibid., V, 462. 

46. Postlethwayt, Universal Dictionary . . ., I, 871-872, II, 769; Postle- 
thwayt, Great Britain's Commercial Interest . . ., I, 482, 485, 489-490, 493. 

NOTES TO PAGES I I 7-! 2 I 239 

47. Almon, op. cit., Ill, 16. Circular Letter to the Governors of North 
America, Aug. 23, 1760. 

48. Stock, op. cit., V, 478. April 16, 1751. 

49. Anonymous, A Letter to a Noble Peer, relating to the Bill in 
favour of the Sugar-Planters (London, 1733), 18. 

50. Whitson, op. cit., 76. 

51. A. M. Schlesinger, The Colonial Merchants and the American 
Revolution, 1763-1776 (New York, 1918), 42-43. 

52. Some Considerations Humbly offered . . ., n. 

53. A Letter to a Noble Peer . . ., 20. 

54. Whitson, op. cit., 70. 

55. Stock, op. cit., V, 477. April 16, 1751. 

56. Ibid., IV, 161 n, 162 n, 163 n. 

57. Ibid., V, 482. April 19, 1751. 

58. Donnan, op. cit., Ill, 203-205. Jan. 24, 1764. 

59. W. S. McClellan, Smuggling in the American Colonies at the Out- 
break of the Revolution (New York, 1912), 37. 

60. Wood, op. cit., 136-141. 

61. Stock, op. cit., IV, 143. Feb. 23, 1731. 

62. Ibid., IV, 125. Jan. 28, 1731. 

63. Ibid.,IV, 185. Feb. 21, 1732. 

64. Ibid., IV, 139. Feb. 23, 1731. 

65. E. Donnan, "Eighteenth Century English Merchants, Micajah 
Perry," Journal of Economic and Business History (Nov., 1931), 06. 
Perry to Cadwallader Golden of New York. 

66. Pitman, Development of the British West Indies, 272. 

67. C. W. Taussig, Rum, Romance and Rebellion (New York, 1928), 


68. Stock, op. cit., V, 477. April 16, 1751. 

69. Callender, op. cit., 133. 

70. Innis, op. cit., 212. 

71. Arthur Young, Annals of Agriculture (London), IX, 1788, 95-96; 
X, 1788, 335-362. The whole essay, on "West Indian Agriculture," should 
be read. 

72. Whitson, op. cit., 77-78. 

73. Maclnnes, op. cit., 295. 

74. Edwards, op. cit., II, 515. 

75. Whitson, op. cit., 86. 

76. Ragatz, Fall of the Planter Class . . ., 174. 

77. G. Chalmers, Opinions on Interesting Subjects of Public Law and 
Commercial Policy; arising from American Independence (London, 
1 784), 60. 

78. Ragatz, Fall of the Planter Class . . ., 176. 

79. C. P. Nettels, The Roots of American Civilization (New York, 

240 NOTES TO PAGES 122-123 

80. Petitions from the various islands that the ports should be opened 
were so numerous that Lord Hawkesbury was "apprehensive that every 
port in our West India islands will apply to be made a free port from 
a sense of the great advantages to be derived therefrom." Liverpool 
Papers, Add. MSS. 38228, f. 324. Feb. 1793. On Feb. 20, 1784, Governor 
Orde wrote from Dominica: "The people look with uncommon anxiety 
for the arrival of a free port act." B.T.6/I03 (Public Record Office). 

81. W. H. Elkins, British Policy in its Relation to the Commerce and 
Navigation of the U.S.A., 1*194-1807 (Oxford University D. Phil. Thesis, 
c. 1935), 96. Dr. Vincent Harlow, who supervised the thesis, kindly 
permitted me to read it. 

82. Innis, op. cit., 221, 251. 

83. T. Pitkin, A Statistical View of the Commerce of the United States 
(Hartford, 1817), 167. 

84. Report of the Committee of Privy Council, 1788, Part V, Question i. 
Evidence of Messrs. Fuller, Long and Chisholme of Jamaica. 

85. Pitman, The Settlement . . . of British West India Plantations . . ., 

86. Report of the Committee of Privy Council, 1788. See note 84 supra. 

87. Pitman, The Settlement . . . of British West India Plantations . . ., 

88. Parl. Hist., XXIX, 260. Wilberforce, April 18, 1791. 

89. Klingberg, op. cit., 13-14, 103; H. Brougham, An Inquiry into the 
Colonial Policy of the European Powers (Edinburgh, 1803), I, 522. 

90. Chatham Papers (Public Record Office), 0.0.8/349. West Indian 
Islands, Papers relating to Jamaica (1783-1804) and St. Domingo (1788- 
1800). Extracts from "Considerations on the State of St. Domingo," by 
Hilliard d'Auberteuil, 303. 

91. Report of the Committee of Privy Council, 1788, Part V. See note 84 

92. Brougham, op. cit., I, 539-540. 

93. In the Chatham Papers, G.D.8/IO2, there is this curious letter of 
Pitt's, dated Nov. 25, 1783, probably to the Governor of the East India 
Company: "It has occurred to me to be a very material part of the Com- 
pany's case to show that the bill-holders are willing to allow the company 
all convenient time before they call for payment. I have in general under- 
stood that they are inclined to do so; but it would add a great weight if 
a public declaration could be obtained from them as a body to that 
effect. For that purpose it might be desirable to convene a public meeting 
of them; tho' such a measure ought not undoubtedly to be proposed 
without a certainty of success, I could not forbear suggesting this to your 
consideration. I must beg the favour of you, however, not to mention the 
idea as from me, and to excuse the liberty I take in troubling you." 

94. R. Coupland, Wilberforce (Oxford, 1923), 93. 

95. Sugar: Various MSS. (in the writer's possession). Adamson to 
Ferguson, March 25, 1787. 

NOTES TO PAGES 123-129 24! 

96. East India Sugar, Papers respecting the Culture and Manufacture 
of Sugar in British India (London, 1822), Appendix I, p. 3. 

97. Clarkson, Essay on the Impolicy . . ., 34. 

98. Pitkin, op. cit., 30, 200-201. Pitkin gives the figures for 1784-1790 in 
pounds, 1792-1801 in dollars. The proportions given in the text are based 
on the tables as given in Pitkin. It seemed a more satisfactory way to show 
the increase of the trade than to attempt the conversion of pounds into 

99. Merivale, op. cit., 230. 

xoo. Anonymous, The Speeches of the Right Honourable William 
Huskisson with a Biographical Memoir (London, 1831), II, 312. March 
21, 1825. 


1. Parl. Hist., XXIII, 1026-1027. June 17, 1783. 

2. Mantoux, op. cit., 340. 

3. Clapham, op. cit., Chap. V. 

4. Lord, op. cit., 176. 

5. Clapham, op. cit., 156. 

6. Mantoux, op. cit., 257. 

7. Clapham, op. cit., 184-185, 196. 

8. Lord, op. cit., 174. 

9. A. Redford, The Economic History of England, 1760-1860 (London, 
1931), 22. 

10. Mantoux, op. cit., 258. 

11. N. S. Buck, The Development of the Organization of Anglo- 
American Trade, 1800-1850 (New Haven, 1925), 166. 

12. Ibid., 164. 

13. Wheeler, op. cit., 175. 

14. Butterworth, op. cit., 112. 

15. Buck, op. cit., 169. 

1 6. Mantoux, op. cit., 368. The phrase is Arthur Young's. 

17. Ibid., 367-368. 

1 8. Jackman, op. cit., II, 514 n. From 27,246 to 163,888. 

19. Butterworth, op. cit., 37. 

20. Mantoux, op. cit., 258. 

21. C. H. Timperley, Annals of Manchester; Biographical, Ecclesiastical, 
and Commercial, from the earliest period to the close of the year 1839 
(Manchester, 1839), 89. 

22. Buck, op. cit., 36 n. 

23. Scrivenor, op. cit., 87 (68,300 tons in 1788); Clapham, op. cit., 149 
(650,000-700,000 tons in 1830). 

242 NOTES TO PAGES 129-132 

24. Scrivenor, op. cit., 87 (85 furnaces in 1788) ; Clapham, op. clt. y 149 
(250-300 furnaces in 1830). 

25. Scrivenor, op. cit., 123-124, 293-294. 

26. Clapham, op. cit., 240. 

27. Cambridge History of the British Empire, II, 223. The whole essay, 
"The Industrial Revolution and the Colonies, 1783-1822," by J. H. Clap- 
ham, should be read as an indispensable aid to an appreciation of the 
destruction of the West Indian monopoly. 

28. Clapham, op. cit., 431; F. Engels, The Condition of the Working 
Class in England m 1844 (London, 1936 edition), 13. The number of 
mines increased from 40 to 76. 

29. Scrivenor, op. cit., 297. 

30. Redford, op. cit., 41-42. 

31. Clapham, op. cit., 152, 154; A. P. Usher, A History of Mechanical 
Inventions (New York, 1929), 332. 

32. Clapham, op. cit., 189. 

33. Scrivenor, op. cit., 421. The figures are as follows: 1815 exports, 
79,596 tons; to B.W.I., 7,381; to U.S.A., 21,501; 1833 exports, 179,312 
tons; to B.W.I., 5,400; to U.S.A., 62,253. 

34. Mantoux, op. cit., 276. 

35. Clapham, op. cit., 144, 196; Buck, op. cit., 163. 

36. Engels, op. cit., 9. From 75,000 to 490,000 pieces. 

37. Clapham, op. cit., 243, 478. 

38. James, op. cit., 286; Mantoux, op. cit., 106 n.; Clapham, op. cit., 249. 
The cotton export for 1830 was 31,810,474. Buck, op. cit., 166. 

39. Mantoux, op. cit., 369; Engels, op. cit., 9. 

40. Merivale, op. cit., 1 20. 

41. Cambridge History of the British Empire, II, 231. 

42. Merivale, op. cit., 121. 

43. Redford, op. cit., 45. 

44. L. H. Jenks, The Migration of British Capital to 1875 (London, 
1927), 64. 

45. Hansard, New Series, XV, 385. Lord Redesdale, April 19, 1825. 

46. Jenks, op. cit., 67. 

47. Customs 8 (Public Record Office), Vols. 14 and 35. The figures are: 
1821 6,422,304; 1832 7,017,048. 

48. Jenks, op. cit., 75-76. 

49. The Cambridge History of British Foreign Policy (Cambridge, 
1923), II, 74. Canning to Granville, Dec. 17, 1824. 

50. Customs 8, Vols. 14 and 35. In 1821 2,114,329; in 1832 5,298,596. 

51. Ibid., In 1821 3,239,894; in 1832 9,452,822. 

52. Jenks, op. cit., 47. 

53. Customs 8, Vols. 14 and 35. In 1821 43,113,855; in 1832 65,025,278. 

54. Ibid., In 1821 19,082,693; in 1832 29,908,964. 

55. Ibid. In 1821 3,639,746; in 1832 6,377,507. 

NOTES TO PAGES 132-138 243 

56. Ibid. To the B.W.I.: 1821 4,704,610; 1832 3,813,821. To Jamaica: 
1821 3,214,364; 1832 2,022,435. 

57. W. L. Burn, Emancipation and Apprenticeship in the British West 
Indies (London, 1937), 52. 

58. Hansard, Third Series, LXXVII, 1062. Milner Gibson, Feb. 24, 1845. 

59. Merivale, op. cit., 203. 

60. Burn, op. cit., 73. Burn denies that they were an inferno. 

61. W. L. Mathieson, British Slavery and its Abolition, 1823-1838 (Lon- 
don, 1926), 222. 

62. A. Prentice, History of the Anti-Corn Law League (London, 1853), 


63. E. Halevy, A History of the English People, 1830-1841 (London, 
1927), 42-43, 47, 56-58. 

64. F. M. Eden, Eight Letters on the Peace; and on the Commerce and 
Manufactures of Great Britain (London, 1802), 129. 

65. Cambridge History of the British Empire, II, 239. 


1. Merivale, op. cit., 238-239. 

2. Ibid., 93. 

3. Liverpool Papers, Add. MSS. 38295, f. 102. An anonymous corre- 
spondent to Lord Bexley, July, 1823. 

4. C.O. 137/166. Hibbert to Horton, April 2, 1827. 

5. Hansard, New Series, XIV, 1164. Lord Dudley and Ward, March 
7, 1826. 

6. Ibid., Third Series, HI, 354. Mr. Robinson, March 11, 1831. 

7. Bready, op. cit., 308. 

8. The statement is Dr. Bowring's. The date I have been unable to find. 

9. Prentice, op. cit., I, 75. 

10. The Right in the West India Merchants . . ., 17, 18-19, 26-27, 50-51, 

53. 74-75- 

11. Hansard, New Series, VIII, 339. Petition of merchants, shipowners, 
etc., concerned in the trade to the East Indies, March 3, 1823. 

12. Report of a Committee of the Liverpool East India Association, 
appointed to take into consideration the restrictions of the East India 
Trade (Liverpool, 1822), 21-22. 

13. Z. Macaulay, East and West India Sugar; or a Refutation of the 
Claims of the West India Colonists to a Protecting Duty on East India 
Sugar (London, 1823), 37. 

14. Debates at the General Court of Proprietors of East India Stock 
on the i$th and 2ist March 1823 on the East India Sugar Trade (London, 
1823), 12. Mr. Tucker. 

244 NOTES TO PAGES 138-141 

15. Ibid.) 40-41. 

1 6. Cambridge Modern History (Cambridge, 1934), X, 771-772. 

17. Hansard, New Series, I, 424-425, 429. May 16, 1820. 

1 8. Ibid., XXII, in, 1 1 8. March 23, 1812. The compliment to Pitt is in 
Cambridge Modern History, X, 77 1 . 

19. W. Naish, Reasons for using East India Sugar (London, 1828), 12. 

20. Hansard, Third Series, LXXV, 438. Mr. Villiers, June 10, 1844. 

2 1 . Ibid., 444. 

22. Merivale, op. cit., 225. 

23. Ibid., 205. 

24. J. B. Seely, A Fe<w Hints to the West Indians on their Present 
Claims to Exclusive Favour and Protection at the Expense of the East 
India Interests (London, 1823), 89. 

25. The Speeches of ... Huskisson . . ., II, 198. May 22, 1823. 

26. Ibid., Ill, 146. May 15, 1827. 

27. Hansard, Third Series, LVII, 920. Villiers, April 5, 1841. 

28. Ibid., 162-163. Labouchere, March 12, 1841. 

29. Ibid., Third Series, LXXVII, 1056. Milner Gibson, Feb. 24, 1845. 

30. Ibid., Third Series, LVII, 920. Villiers, April 5, 1841. 

31. Ibid., Third Series, LXXVII, 1078. Feb. 24, 1845. 

32. P. Guedalla, Gladstone and P aimer ston (London, 1928), 30. 

33. Hansard, Third Series, CXI, 592. May 31, 1850. 

34. Ibid., Third Series, XCVI, 123. Feb. 4, 1848. 

35. Ibid., Third Series, CXXIV, 1036. March 3, 1853. 

36. Pitman, The Settlement ... of British West India Plantations . . ., 

37. Penson, op. cit., 208. 

38. T. Fletcher, Letters in Vindication of the Rights of the British 
West India Colonies (Liverpool, 1822), 27; Anonymous, Memorandum 
on the Relative Importance of the West and East Indies to Great Britain 
(London, 1823), 30; C.O. 137/140. Report from a Committee of the 
Honourable House of Assembly, appointed to inquire into various matters 
relative to the state of commerce and agriculture of the island; the prob- 
able effects thereon of opening the trade to the East Indies; and the opera- 
tion of the present maximum on the exportation of sugar. Jamaica, 1813. 

39. C.O. 137/140. Report from a Committee of the Honourable House 
of Assembly . . ., Jamaica, 1813. 

40. K. Bell and W. P. Morrell, Select Documents on British Colonial 
Policy, 1830-1860 (Oxford, 1928), 414. Russell to Light, Feb. 15, 1840. 

41. Merivale, op. cit., 84. 

42. Hansard, Third Series, HI, 537. Mr. Fitzgerald, March 18, 1831; Ibid., 
Third Series, XVIII, in. Henry Goulburn, May 30, 1833. 

43. Ibid., New Series, IV, 947. Marryat, Feb. 28, 1821. 

44. Ibid., Third Series, C, 356. Bentinck, July 10, 1848. 

45. Ibid., Third Series, LXXV, 213. Stewart, June 3, 1844; Ibid., Third 
Series, XCIC, 1094. Miles, June 23, 1848. 

NOTES TO PAGES 141-145 245 

46. Ibid., Third Series, LVI, 616. Viscount Sandon, Feb. 12, 1841. 

47. Ibid., Third Series, XCIX, 1098. Miles, June 23, 1848; Ibid., 1466. 
Nugent, June 30, 1848. They argued that when the Africans, at the end 
of their contract, returned home, they would introduce civilization into 
Africa. Ibid., Third Series, LXXXVIII, 91. Hogg, July 27, 1846. On the 
request for convicts, see Ibid., Third Series, LXXV, 1214. Mr. James, 
June 21, 1844. 

48. Ibid., Third Series, LXXVII, 1269. Feb. 26, 1845. 

49. Ibid., Third Series, CXI, 581. May 31, 1850. 

50. Ibid., Third Series, LXXV, 198. June 3, 1844. 

51. Ibid., Third Series, CXV, 1440. April 10, 1851. 

52. Ibid., 1443. 

5.3. The Political Writings of Richard Cobden (London, 1878), 12, 14. 

54. Ibid., 257. Cobden was prepared to let the United States seize Cuba. 
Hansard, Third Series, CXXXII, 429-430. April 4, 1854. 

55. Hansard, Third Series, CVI, 942, 951-952, 958. June 26, 1849; Ibid., 
Third Series, C, 825. July 25, 1848. 

56. Ibid., Third Series, C, 831, 834, 849. July 25, 1848. 

57. Ibid., New Series, XXII, 855. Feb. 23, 1830. 

58. Ibid., Third Series, XI, 834. March 23, 1832. 

59. Ibid., Third Series, XCIX, 875. June 19, 1848. 

60. W. P. Morrell, British Colonial Policy in the Age of Peel and Rus- 
sell (Oxford, 1930), 286. 

61. Bell and Morrell, op. cit., Introduction, pp. xiii, xxiv. 

62. Merivale, op. cit., 78. 

63. Hansard, XXXIV, 1192. Barham, June 19, 1816. 

64. Addresses and Memorials to His Majesty from the House of As- 
sembly at Jamaica, voted in the years 1821 to 1826, inclusive, and which 
have been presented to His Majesty by the Island Agent (London, 1828), 

65. Hansard, Third Series, XCIX, 872. Seymer, June 19, 1848. 

66. Ibid., Third Series, XCVI, 75. Robinson, Feb. 3, 1848. 

67. Ibid., Third Series, LXIII, 1218-1219. June 3, 1842. 

68. Ibid., Third Series, LXXV, 462. June 10, 1844. 

69. Ibid., Third Series, LXXXVIII, 164. July 28, 1846. 

70. E. L. Woodward, The Age of Reform, iSif-iSjo (Oxford, 1938), 
351. Morrell, op. cit., 519, speaks of this as "the famous indiscretion" of 
Disraeli's, though it is not clear just how it is indiscreet. The phrase 
"damnosa hereditas" is Taylor's of the Colonial Office. Bell and Morrell, 
op. cit., Introduction, p. XXVI. 

71. J. Morley, The Life of William Ewart Gladstone (London, 1912), 
I, 268. 

72. Penson, op. cit., 209. 

73. Chatham Papers, G.D. 8/352. West India Planters and Merchants, 
Resolutions, May 19, 1791. 

246 NOTES TO PAGES 145-147 

74. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, XIII, 719. Petition of 
Jamaica Merchants, Oct. u, 1692. 

75. A. M. Arnould, De la Balance du Commerce et des Relations Com- 
mer dales Exterieures de la France, dans Toutes les Parties du Globe, 
pdrticulierement a la fin du Regne de Louis XIV, et au Moment de la 
Revolution (Paris, 1791), I, 263, 326-328. 

76. Hansard, IX, 90-91. Hibbert, March 12, 1807. 

77. Parl. Hist., XXIX, 1147. April 2, 1792. 

78. Ragatz, The Fall of the Planter Class . . ., 211. 

79. See Chatham Papers, G.D. 8/102. Pitt to Eden, Dec. 7, 1787: "The 
more I reflect on it, the more anxious and impatient I am that the busi- 
ness should be brought as speedily as possible to a point." Pitt refused 
to consider temporary suspension of the trade and to compromise "the 
principle of humanity and justice, on which the whole rests." The Journal 
and Correspondence of William, Lord Auckland (London, 1861), I, 304. 
Pitt to Eden, Jan. 7, 1788. Pitt thought that one good result of the new 
constitution in France (1788) would be that "our chance of settling some- 
thing about the slave trade" would be improved. The Manuscripts of J. B. 
Fortescue Esq. preserved at Dropmore (Historical Manuscripts Com- 
mission, London, 1892-1927), I, 353. Pitt to Grenville, Aug. 29, 1788. 

80. Ragatz, The Fall of the Planter Class ..., 213-214. 

81. Liverpool Papers, Add. MSS. 38409, ff. 151, 155. Written probably 
in 1789. 

82. Ibid., ff. 147-148. 

83. Ibid., Add. MSS. 38349, f. 393. Written probably after 1791. 

84. Correspondence ', Despatches and other Papers of Viscount Castle- 
reagh (London, 1848-1853), XI, 41. Liverpool to Castlereagh, Oct. 2, 1815. 
See too Liverpool Papers, Add. MSS. 38578, f. 28. Liverpool to Castle- 
reagh, Nov. 20, 1818. Coming from a West Indian slaveowner, the phrase 
is amusing. 

85. See Liverpool Papers, Add. MSS. 38224, f. 118. Lord Dorset, British 
Ambassador in Paris, wrote to Lord Hawkesbury on May 7, 1789, that 
the flattering references to British humanitarianism "seem'd only meant 
to compliment us and to keep us quiet and in good humour." Sir James 
Harris, from Holland, wrote that the principles of humanity were not 
likely to make much impression on the Dutch merchants and that it 
would be difficult to obtain their acquiescence. The Manuscripts of 
/. B. Fortescue . . ., Ill, 442-443. Harris to Grenville, Jan. 4, 1788. 

86. Gaston-Martin, La Doctrine Coloniale de la France en 1789 
(Cahiers de la Revolution Fransaise, No. 3, Bordeaux, 1935), 25, 39. 

87. J. Ramsay, An Inqidry into the Effects of Putting a Stop to the 
African Slave Trade (London, 1784), 24. 

88. Chatham Papers, G.D. 8/349. West Indian Islands, Papers relating 
to Jamaica and St. Domingo. The offer was made by De Cadusey, Presi- 
dent of the Island Assembly, on Oct. 29, 1791. He stated that necessity 

NOTES TO PAGES 147-151 247 

justified a step which would normally be treason, for obvious reasons the 
offer could not be "official," and begged Pitt in the name of policy as well 
as of humanity to accept "the expression of the general will." The offer 
was not unexpected in England. On May 13, 1791, the British Ambassador 
in Paris reported that the French colonists were talking of "throwing 
themselves into the arms of England." P.O. 27/36. (Public Record Office). 
Gower to Grenville. 

89. P.O. 27/40. De Curt to Hawkesbury, Dec. 18, 1792. De Curt begged 
to be considered in all respects as an Englishman, and later formally 
asked for protection "in the name of humanity and English loyalty." 
Liverpool Papers, Add. MSS. 38228, f. 197. Jan. 3, 1793. 

90. Part. Hist., XXXII, 752. Dundas, Feb. 18, 1796. 

91. J. W. Fortescue, A History of the British Army (London, 1899- 
1930), IV, Part I, 325. 

92. Ibid., 565. 

93. Wilberforce, Life of Wilberforce, I, 341. 

94. Ibid., II, 147, 286; A. M. Wilberforce, The Private Papers of 
William Wilberforce (London, 1897), 31. Pitt to Wilberforce, May 31, 

95. Klingberg, op. cit., 116, quoting Lecky. 

96. Wilberforce, Life of Wilberforce, II, 225. Stephen to Wilberforce, 
July, 1797. 

97. Liverpool Papers, Add. MSS. 38227, f. 5. Aug. 7, 1791. An anony- 
mous writer from Jamaica to one Mr. Brickwood. 

98. Chatham Papers, G.D. 8/334. Miscellaneous Papers relating to 
France, 1784-1795. James Chalmers to Pitt, Dec. 24, 1792. 

99. Eden, op. cit., 18. 

100. Ragatz, The Fall of the Planter Class . . ., 308. 

101. H. of C. Sess. Pap. Report on the Commercial State of the West 
India Colonies, 1807, 4-6; Hansard, IX, 98. Hibbert, March 12, 1807. 

102. Hansard, VIII, 238-239. Dec. 30, 1806. 

103. Ibid., 985. Hibbert, Feb. 23, 1807. The greater need of slaves in 
the newer colonies explains that peculiar migration from the old to the 
new colonies between 1807 and 1833 under the guise of "domestics" in 
attendance on their master. See Eric Williams, "The Intercolonial Slave 
Trade after its Abolition in 1807," Journal of Negro History (April, 

104. Hansard, II, 652. June 13, 1804. Lord Sheffield replied that this 
would be a breach of faith. Ibid., VII, 235. May 16, 1806. 

105. Ibid., VIII, 658-659. Feb. 5, 1807. 

106. Ibid., IX, 101. March 12, 1807. 

107. Merivale, op. cit., 303, 313-317. 

108. Ragatz, Statistics . . ., 20 (Table XVII). 

109. Ibid., 20 (Tables XVII, XIX and XX). Antigua, 162,573 and 115,- 
932 cwt.; Mauritius, 155,247 and 524,017 cwt. 

248 NOTES TO PAGES 151-156 

no. Ibid., 20 (Tables XIX and XXI). From 4,000 to 111,000 cwt. 

in. Customs 5 (Public Record Office), Vols. 16 and 22. Singapore's in- 
creased from 5,000 to 33,000 cwt.; Philippines' from 8,800 to 32,500; Java's 
from 950 to 21,700. 

112. J. de la Pezuela, Diccionario Geografico, Estadistico, Historico de 
la hla de Cuba (Madrid, 1862), I, 59; Anuario Azucarero de Cuba 
(Habana, 1940), 59. From 14,500 to 620,000 tons. 

113. Customs, 5, Vols. 6, 20 and 21. From Brazil 50,800 and 362,600 cwt.; 
from Cuba 35,500 and 210,800 cwt. 

1 14. Pitman, The Settlement . . . of British West India Plantations . . ., 

115. Pezuela, op. cit., I, 59. Alava plantation, another "monster" com- 
prised 4,933 acres, employed 600 slaves, and produced 3,570 tons of sugar. 

1 1 6. Hansard, Third Series, LXX, 212. Cobden, June 22, 1843. 

117. Ibid., Third Series, LVII, 610. Ellenborough, March 26, 1841. 

1 1 8. Ibid., Third Series, II, 700. Poulett Thomson, Feb. 21, 1831. 

119. Statements, Calculations and Explanations submitted to the Board 
of Trade relative to the Commercial, Financial and Political State of 
the British West India Colonies, since the igth of May, 1830. (H. of C. 
Sess. Pap., Accounts and Papers, 1830-1831, IX, No. 120), 58. Imports 
into Hamburg rose from 68,798 to 75,441 boxes; into Prussia from 207,801 
to 415,134. Russian imports of Cuban sugar rose from 616,542 to 935,395 
poods (36 pounds), of Brazilian from 331,584 to 415,287 poods. 

1 20. Hansard, Third Series, XVII, 1209, 1211-1212. May 14, 1833. 

121. Burn, op. cit., 367 n. 

122. C.O. 295/93, n.d. The Council's petition was enclosed in Governor 
Grant's despatch of Aug. 29, 1832. 


1. H. Richard, Memoirs of Joseph Sturge (London, 1864), 84. Cropper 
to Sturge, Oct. 14, 1825. 

2. Auckland Papers (British Museum), Add. MSS. 34427, rT. 401-402 
(v). Wilberforce to Eden, Jan. 1788. 

3. Coupland, Wilberforce, 422. 

4. Bready, op. cit., 302, 341. 

5. Prentice, op. cit., I, 3-4. 

6. T. P. Martin, "Some International Aspects of the Anti-Slavery 
Movement, 1818-1823," Journal of Economic and Business History (Nov., 
1928), 146. 

7. Hansardj Third Series, XVI, 290, March 6, 1833. 

8. Wadsworth and Mann, op. cit., 288, 289. 

NOTES TO PAGES 156-161 249 

9. Murch, op. cit., 76. 

jo. Report of the Speeches at the Great Dinner in the Theatre, Man- 
chester, to celebrate the election of Mark Philips, Esq. and the Rt. Hon. 
C. P. Thomson (John Rylands Library), 2, 8. 

11. Hansard, Third Series, XXXIII, 472. April 29, 1836. 

12. Ibid., Third Series, XL VIII, 1029. June 28, 1839. 

13. Ibid., Third Series, C, 54. Milner Gibson, July 3, 1848. 

14. Ibid., Third Series, LXXVII, 1053. Gibson, Feb. 24, 1845. 

15. Ibid., Third Series, LVI, 605. Hawes, Feb. 12, 1841. 

16. Ibid., Third Series, LXXVII, 1053. Gibson, Feb. 24, 1845; Ibid., 
Third Scries, C, 54. Gibson, July 3, 1848. 

17. Ibid., Third Series, LXXVII, 1144. Feb. 24, 1845; Ibid., Third Series, 
XCIX, 1428. June 30, 1848. 

1 8. Ibid., Third Series, C, 324. Bentinck, July 10, 1848, quoting Bright. 
Bentinck emphasized the previous protection against Indian textiles. 

19. Ibid., Third Series, LXXVIII, 930. March 14, 1845. 

20. Ibid., Third Series, LXXVI, 37. June 27, 1844. 

21. Ibid., Third Series, XCIX, 1420. June 30, 1848. 

22. Ibid., 747. June 16, 1848. 

23. Auckland Papers, Add. MSS. 34427, ff. 401-402 (v). Wilberforce to 
Eden, Jan., 1788. 

24. J. A. Langford, A Century of Birmingham Life: or a Chronicle of 
Local Events (Birmingham, 1870), I, 434. 

25. Ashton, op. cit., 223. 

26. Langford, op. cit., I, 436, 440. 

27. Ibid., 1, 437. 

28. Dent, op. cit., 427. 

29. Ibid. 

30. N. B. Lewis, The Abolitionist Movement in Sheffield, 1823-1833 
(Manchester, 1934), 4-5. 

31. Eng. MS., 743 (John Rylands Library). Auxiliary Society for the 
relief of Negro Slaves, f. 12. Jan. 9, 1827; f. 15. July 10, 1827. The plea 
to their townsmen is on a small card, undated, in the same library, in 

32. Lewis, op. cit., 6. 

33. Hansard, Third Series, XIX, 1270. July 25, 1833. 

34. Ibid., Third Series, XVI, 288. March 6, 1833; Ibid., Third Series, 
XVIII, 911. June 17, 1833. 

35. Ibid., Third Series, LXXV, 446-447. June 10, 1844. 

36. Ibid., Third Series, LXIII, 1174. J une 3 I ^4 2 - 

37. Ibid., 1173. 

38. Ibid., Third Series, LXX, 210. June 22, 1843. 

39. J. Bright and J. T. Rogers (eds.), Speeches on Questions of Public 
Policy by Richard Cobden, M. P> (London, 1878), 91-92. 

40. J. E. Ritchie, The Life and Times of Viscount Palmerston (London, 
1866-1867), II, 743-744. 

250 NOTES TO PAGES 161-164 

41. Hansard, Third Series, LXXVII, 1128. Feb. 24, 1845. 

42. Ibid., Third Series, XCIX, 751-752. June 16, 1848. 

43. Mackenzie-Grieve, op. cit., 283. 

44. Hansard, VI, 918. April 25, 1806. 

45. Ibid., VII, 612. Lord Howick, June 10, 1806. 

46. Ibid., VIII, 948. Lord Howick, Feb. 23, 1807. 

47. Jackman, op. cit., II, 515 n. 

48. Hansard, VIII, 961-962. Feb. 23, 1807. 

49. Buck, op. cit., 31-32. 

50. Hansard, New Series, XXIII, 180. March n, 1830. 

51. The Speeches of ... Huskisson . . ., I, 115. Feb. 1826. 

52. Hansard] Third Series, XIX, 793. July 17, 1833. 

53. Ibid., Third Series, XVIII, 909-910. June 17, 1833. 

54. Ibid., Third Series, XVI, 285. March 6, 1833. 

55. Ibid., Third Series, XVIII, 910. June 17, 1833. 

56. Eyre-Todd, op. cit., Ill, 256, 263-264. 

57. Donnan, op. cit., II, 537 n, 564 ^565 n. 

58. Hansard, Third Series, XVI, 291. March 6, 1833. In 1846 another 
Oswald went further: "When we wore slave-grown cotton, when we 
drank slave-grown coffee, and smoked slave-grown tobacco, he could 
not for the life of him conceive on what principle they might not also 
use slave-grown sugar. . . . They must look for the amelioration of this 
evil to some other quarter than the Custom-House." Hansard, Third 
Series, LXXXVIII, 122. July 28, 1846. It would be interesting to know 
whether this was a member of the same family. 

59. Ragatz, Statistics . . ., 9 (Table IV) . 

60. Report of the Proceedings of the CoTmnittee of Sugar Refiners, 
3, 8, 15. 

61. Ibid., 1 8 n. 

62. Liverpool Papers, Add. MSS. 38227, 217. Chairman to Hawkesbury, 
Jan. 23, 1792; ff. 219-222. Chairman to Pitt, Jan. 12, 1792. 

63. Indian cotton exports were 7 million pounds in 1816, 31 million in 
1817, 67 million in 1818 but only 4 million in 1822. Exports from the 
United States were 50 million in 1816, 59 million in 1822; from Brazil 20 
million in 1816 and 24 million in 1822. Customs 5, Vols. 5, 6, 7, n. But 
Indian cotton was "the worst in the English market; owing to the neg- 
ligent cultivation and packing." E. Baines, History of the Cotton Manu- 
facture in Great Britain (London, 1835), 308. John Bright later used to 
tell a story of a Lancashire prayer meeting at which the following 
petition was offered up: "O Lord, we beseech Thee send us cotton; 
but O Lord, not Shoorat." The reference is to Surat cotton and probably 
has to do with the American Civil War. G. M. Trevelyan, The Life of 
John Bright (Boston, 1913), 318 n. 

64. T. P. Martin, op. cit., 144. The phrase is M' Queen's. 

65. Debates . . . on the East India Sugar Trade, 19. 


66. Hansard, Third Series, VII, 764. John Wood, Sept. 28, 1831. 

67. Ibid., Third Series, XIX, 1165-1167. William Clay, July 24, 1833. 

68. Ibid., Third Series, VII, 764. Sept. 28, 1831. 

69. Ibid., Third Series, VIII, 362. Oct. 7, 1831. 

70. The Speeches of . . . Huskisson . . ., III, 454. May 25, 1829. 

71. Hansard, Third Series, XVIII, 589. June 11, 1833. 

\ 72. Ibid., Third Series, XVII, 75. William Ewart, April 3, 1833; /*W., 
Third Series, LVIII, 101. Ewart, May 10, 1841. 

73. Ibid., Third Series, LVI, 608. B. Hawes, Feb. 12, 1841. 

74. Ibid., Third Series, LXXXVIII, 517. Aug. 10, 1846. 

75. Ramsay, MS. Vol., f. 64. "An Address on the proposed bill for the 
Abolition of the Slave Trade." 

76. Auckland Papers, Add. MSS. 34227, f. 123. Wilberforce to Eden, 
Nov. 23, 1787. 

77. Parl. Hist., XXIX, 270. April 18, 1791. 

78. Ibid., 322. 

79. Hansard, VIII, 948-949. Feb. 23, 1807. 

80. Proceedings of the Committee for Abolition of the Slave Trade, 
1787-1819 (British Museum), Add. MSS. 21255, ^ I0 ( y )- April 14, 1789. 

81. J. Newton, Thoughts upon the African Slave Trade (Liverpool, 
1788), 8. 

82. Ramsay, MS. Vol., f. 64. 

83. Hansard, VIII, 947-948. Lord Howick, Feb. 23, 1807. 

84. Report of a Committee of the Liverpool East India Association . . ., 

85. The Speeches of ... Huskiswn . . ., Ill, 442. May 12, 1829, 

86. Hansard, Third Series, VII, 755. Sept. 28, 1831. 

87. Ibid., Third Series, XVI, 881-882. March 20, 1833. 

88. Ibid., 290. March 6, 1833. 

89. Ibid., Third Series, XIX, 1169. July 24, 1833. 

90. Lindsay, op. cit., Ill, 85-86. 

91. Bell and Morrell, op. cit., Introduction, p. xli. 


1. Hansard, Third Series, XCIX, 1223. G. Thompson, June 26, 1848. 
Thompson was a prominent abolitionist speaker. 

2. Ibid., Third Series, LXXV, 170. Lord John Russell, June 3, 1844. 

3. Despatches . . . of Wellington, I, 329. Canning to Wellington, Sept. 
30, 1822. 

4. Ibid., I, 453. Wellington to Canning, Oct. 28, 1822. 

5. Correspondence . . . of Canning, I, 62. Memorandum for the Cabinet, 
Nov. 15, 1822. 

252 NOTES TO PAGES 170-173 

6. Hansard, Third Series, XCVI, 1096. Hutt, Feb. 22, 1848. 

7. Despatches . . . of Wellington, I, 329. Canning to Wellington, Sept. 
30, 1822. 

8. Correspondence ... of Canning, I, 62. Memorandum for the Cabinet, 
Nov. 15, 1822. 

9. R. I. and S. Wilberforce, The Correspondence of William Wilber- 
force (London, 1840), II, 466. Oct. 24, 1822. 

10. Despatches . . . of Wellington, I, 474-475. Oct. 31, 1822. 

11. Hansard, XXX, 657-658. April 18, 1815; Ibid., XXXI, 174. May 5, 
1815. For the Barings and Latin America, see Jenks, op. cit., 48. 

12. Hansard, XXXI. See pages 557, 606, 850-851, 1064. June i, 5, 16, 
and 30, 1815. 

13. Ibid., New Series, XI, 1345. June 15, 1824. 

14. Ibid., 1475-1477. June 23, 1824. 

15. Ibid., New Series, XXV, 398. June 15, 1830. 

16. Ibid., 405. General Gascoyne, June 15, 1830; Ibid., New Series, XX, 
495. Gascoyne, Feb. 23, 1829. 

17. Correspondence . . . of Castlereagh, X, 112. Castlereagh to Liverpool, 
Sept. 9, 1814. 

1 8. Hansard, Third Series, LIX, 609. Brougham, Sept. 20, 1841. 

19. Ibid., Third Series, XCVI, 1101-1102. Jackson, Feb. 22, 1848. 

20. Ibid., Third Series, CII, 1084. Bishop of Oxford, Feb. 22, 1849. 

21. Ibid., Third Series, XCVI, 1095. Quoted by Hutt, Feb. 22, 1848. 

22. Ibid., Third Series, XCVIII, 1168. Palmerston, May 17, 1848; Ibid., 
1198. Cardwell, May 18, 1848. 

23. Ibid., Third Series, LXV, 938, 942, 945. Aug. 2, 1842. 

24. Ibid., Third Series, LXXI, 941. Aug. 18, 1843. 

25. A. K. Manchester, British Preeminence in Brazil, Its Rise and 
Decline (Chapel Hill, N. C., 1933), 315. 

26. Hansard, Third Series, LXXVII, 1066. Ewart, Feb. 24, 1845; Ibid., 
LXX, 224. June 22, 1843. 

27. Ibid., Third Series, XCIX, 1121. Hawes, June 23, 1848. 

28. Ibid., Third Series, XCVI, uoo. Hutt, Feb. 22, 1848. 

29. Ibid., Third Series, LXXXI, 1170. Hutt, June 24, 1845. 

30. Ibid., Third Series, XCIX, 748. June 16, 1848. 

31. Ibid., Third Series, CXIII, 40. July 19, 1850. 

32. Ibid., Third Series, XCVII, 988. Urquhart, March 24, 1848. 

33. Ibid., Third Series, LXXXI, 1169-1170. Hutt, June 24, 1845. 

34. Ibid., Third Series, LXXV, 170. Russell, June 3, 1844. 

35. Ibid., Third Series, CVII, 1036. Gibson, July 27, 1849. 

36. Ibid., Third Series, XCVI, noi. Hutt, Feb. 22, 1848. 

37. Ibid., Third Series, LXXXI, 1158-1159. June 24, 1845. 

38. Ibid., Third Series, XCVI, 1092, 1096. Hutt, Feb. 22, 1848. 

39. Ibid., 1092. 

40. Ibid., Third Series, XCVII, 986-987. Urquhart, March 24, 1848. 

NOTES TO PAGES 173-179 253 

41. Ibid., Third Series, CI, 177. Urquhart, Aug. 16, 1848. 

42. Ibid., Third Series, LXXXI, 1156, 1158. Hutt, June 24, 1845. 

43. Ibid., Third Series, XCVII, 987. Urquhart, March 24, 1848. 

44. Ibid., Third Series] LXXXI, 1165, 1170. Hutt, June 24, 1845. 

45. Ibid., Third Series, CIX, 1109. Hutt, March 19, 1850. 

46. Ibid., Third Series, CXIII, 61. Hutt, July 19, 1850. 

47. Ibid., Third Series, LXXXI, 1158. Hutt, June 24, 1845. 

48. W. L. Mathieson, Great Britain and the Slave Trade, 1839-1865 
(London, 1929), 90 n. The phrase is Carlyle's. 

49. Hansard, Third Series, LXXVI, 947, 963. Peel, July 16, 1844. 

50. Ibid., Third Series, LXXX, 482. Peel, May 16, 1845. 

51. Ibid., Third Series, LXXXII, 1058-1064. July 24, 1845. 

52. Ibid., Third Series, XCVI, 1125. Feb. 22, 1848. 

53. Ibid., Third Series, LVIII, 648, 653. May 18, 1841. 

54. Ibid., Third Series, LXXXII, 550, 552. July 15, 1845. 

55. Ibid., Third Series, XCVIII, 994-996. March 24, 1848. 

56. Ibid., Third Series, L, 383. Aug. 19, 1839. 

57. Ibid., Third Series, LVIII, 167, 169. May 10, 1841. 

58. Ibid., Third Series, CIX, 1162. March 19, 1850. 

59. The Manuscripts of J. B. Fortes cue . . ., IX, 14-19. Edmund Lyon 
to Grenville, Jan. 16, 1807. 

60. Hansard, XXVIII, 349. Lord Holland, June 27, 1814. 

61. Ibid., XXX, 657-658. April 18, 1815. 

62. Statements, Calculations and Explanations submitted to the Board 
of Trade . . ., p. 84. Letter from Keith Douglas, Oct. 30, 1830. 

63. C.O. 137/186. Memorial of Jamaica deputies, Nov. 29, 1832. 

64. D. Turnbull, The Jamaica Movement, for promoting the enforce- 
ment of the Slave-Trade Treaties, and the Suppression of the Slave 
Trade (London, 1850), 65, 94-95, 99, 120, 201, 249, 267. 

65. Times, Jan. 30, 1857. 

66. Guedalla, op. cit., 64-66. 


R. Coupland, The Empire in These Days (London, 1935), 264. Pro- 
fessor Coupland understands the history of the abolition movement as 
little as his hero. "How popular abolition is, just now," wrote Wilberforce 
in 1807. "God can turn the hearts of men." Wilberforce, Life of Wilber- 
force, III, 295. Feb. n, 1807. 

2. Hansard, VIII, 679-682. Feb. 6, 1807. 

3. K. Farrer (ed.), The Correspondence of Josiah Wedgwood (Lon- 
don, 1906), I, 215-216. June 17, 1793. 

4. See Proceedings of the Committee for Abolition of the Slave 

254 NOTES TO PAGES 180-183 

Trade, Add. MSS., 21254, ff. 12-12 (v). Samuel Hoare to Clarkson, July 
25, 1787: "I hope the zeal and animation with which thou hast taken up 
the cause will be accompanied with temper and moderation, which alone 
can insure its success." 

5. Wilberforce, Life of Wilberforce, IV, 240-241. Written in 1811. 

6. Bell and Morrell, op. cit., 376. Memorandum of Stephen, October, 

7. CO. 295/93. Stephen to Howick, Aug. 25, 1832. 

8. Bell and Aiorrell, op. cit., 420. Minute of Stephen, Sept. 15, 1841. 

9. Ramsay, MS. Vol., f. 28. Dec. 27, 1787. 

10. Klingberg, op. cit., 60-6 1. Ramsay's evidence before the Privy 
Council in 1788 is well worth reading. 

n. Sir G. Stephen, Anti-Slavery Recollections (London, 1854), 775 
Richard, op. cit., 78. Stephen and Richard actually were discussing the 
African Institution and Anti-Slavery Society. 

12. Stephen, op. cit., 79. 

13. Coupland, Wilberforce, 417. 

14. Hansard, New Series, XI, 1413. Wilberforce, June 15, 1824. 

15. Coupland, Wilberforce, 406-408, 411-417. For his opposition to 
feminine anti-Slavery associations, see Wilberforce, Life of Wilberforce, 
V, 264-265. Wilberforce to Babington, Jan. 31, 1826. For his views on 
the First Reform Bill, see Wilberforce, Correspondence of Wilberforce, 
II, 265. Wilberforce to his son Samuel, March 4, 1831. 

1 6. Proceedings of the Committee for Abolition of the Slave Trade, 
Add. MSS. 21255, f. 50 (v). Aug. 12, 1788; Add. MSS. 21256, ff. 40 (v), 
96 (v). Jan. 31, 1792, March 29, 1797. 

17. Hansard, IX, 143-144. March 17, 1807. 

18. Parl. Hist., XXXIII, 1119. July 5, 1799. 

19. Hansard, New Series, XIX, 1469. Quoted by Lord Seaford, June 
23, 1828. 

20. Ibid., New Series, IX, 265-266. May 15, 1823. 

21. Richard, op. cit., 79. 

22. Stephen, op. cit., 120-122. 

23. Richard, op. cit., 101-102. March 28, 1833. 

24. A. Cochin, U Abolition de UEsclavage (Paris, 1861), Introduction, 
pp. xiv-xv. 

25. Proceedings of the Committee for Abolition of the Slave Trade, 
Add. MSS,, 21256, f. 95. June 25, 1795. 

26. W. Fox, Address to the People of Great Britain on the Propriety 
of Abstaimng from West India Sugar and Rum (London, 1791), passim. 

27. R. K. Nuermberger, The Free Produce Movement, A Quaker 
Protest against Slavery (Durham, N. C, 1943), 9-10. 

28. (Anonymous), Remarkable Extracts and Observations on the 
Slave Trade with Some Considerations on the Consumption of West 
India Produce (Stockton, 1792), 9. Copy in Wilberforce Museum, Hull 

NOTES TO PAGES 184-186 255 

29. Naish, op. cit., 3. 

30. Undated sheet, in Wilberforce Museum. 

31. Anonymous, The Ladies 1 Free Grown Cotton Movement (John 
Rylands Library) . Undated. 

32. Gurney to Scoble, Dec. 5, 1840. In Wilberforce Museum. There 
is a reference number, D.B. 883, given with some hesitation, as the 
heterogeneous papers were not well arranged. 

33. "The Principles, Plans, and Objects of The Hibernian Negro's 
Friend Society, contrasted with those of the previously existing Anti- 
Slavery Societies, being a circular, in the form of a letter to Thomas 
Pringle, Esq., Secretary of the London Anti-Slavery Society," 3. Jan. 
8, 1831 (John Rylands Library). 

34. Hansard, Third Series, XX, 315, 323, 324. Aug. 5, 1833; Ibid., 446. 
Aug. 9, 1833. 

35. Ibid., Third Series, XXXVIII, 1853. Hobhouse, July 10, 1837. 

36. Ibid., Third Series, LVI, 218. O'Connell, Feb. 2, 1841. 

37. Ibid., 619. Feb. 12, 1841. 

38. Ibid., Third Series, LXV, 1075. Baring, Aug. 5, 1842. 

39. Ibid., Third Series, LXX, 1294. July 21, 1843. 

40. Ibid., Third Series, LXVIII, 753. April 10, 1843. 

41. Eng. MS. 741. Clarkson to L. Townsend, Aug. 1825. 

42. Clarkson Papers (British Museum), Add. MSS. 41267 A, ff, 178-179. 

43. Debates . . . on the East India Sugar Trade, 35. 

44. Hansard, Third Series, XXXVIII, 1853-1854. July 10, 1837. 

45. Ibid., Third Series, LXX, 1294. July 21, 1843. 

46. Bell and Morrell, op. cit., Introduction, p. xxx. 

47. East India Company Subscription Journals to 800,000 additional 
stock, July 1786; East India Company Stock Ledgers, 1783-1791, 1791- 
1706. These records are kept in the Bank of England Record Office, 
Roehampton, London. Henry Thornton subscribed 500 and John 
Thornton 3,000 to the stock issued in 1786. At his death John left 2,000 
to each of the others, which left Henry with 3,000, Robert with 4,000 
and Samuel with 3,000. 

48. Debates on the expendiency of cultivating sugar in the territories 
of the East India Company (East India House, 1793). 

49. Debates . . . on the East India Sugar Trade, 5. Only Ragatz, The 
Fall of the Planter Class . . ., 363, mentions this important fact. 

50. Macaulay, op. cit., 29. 

51. Debates . . . on the East India Sugar Trade, 36. Hume. 

52. Correspondence between . . . Gladstone . . . and Cropper . . ., 15; 
F. A. Conybeare, Dingle Bank, the home of the Croppers (Cambridge, 
1925), 7; Ragatz, The Fall of the Planter Class . . ., 364. 

53. J. Cropper, Letters to William Wilberforc'e, M.P., recommending 
the encouragement of the cultivation of sugar in our dominions in the 
East Indies, as the natural and certain means of effecting the total and 

256 NOTES TO PAGES 187-189 

general abolition of the Slave Trade (Liverpool, 1822), Introduction, 
p. vii. 

54. Correspondence between . . . Gladstone . . . and Cropper . . ., 16. 
Cropper replied that this connection had ceased, to which Gladstone 
retorted: "It would be rather a curious coincidence were we to find 
that this cessation was coeval with his becoming a public writer against 
slavery: and in that case is it not rather remarkable that he should not 
have been induced to turn author until his slave cotton agency had 
ceased?" Ibid., 37. 

55. Correspondence between . . . Gladstone . . . and Cropper . . ., 55. 

56. J. Cropper, "Slave Labour and Free Labour." The substance of 
Mr. Cropper's address on Wednesday November 22 (1825) at the respect- 
able meeting at the King's Head, Derby (Derby, 1825), 3. John Rylands 

57. J. Cropper, A Letter addressed to the Liverpool Society for pro- 
moting the abolition of Slavery, on the injurious effects of high prices of 
produce, and the beneficial effects of low prices, on the condition of 
slaves (Liverpool, 1823), 8-9. 

58. Ibid., 22. 

59. J. Cropper, Relief for West Indian distress, shewing the inefficiency 
of protecting duties on East India sugar, and pointing out other modes 
of certain relief (London, 1823), 9. 

60. lbid. y 30. 

61. Conybeare, op. cit., 25, 56-57. 

62. The Liverpool Mercury and Lancashire General Advertiser, June 
7> 1833. 

63. Coupland, The British Anti-Slavery Movement, 124; Mathieson, 
British Slavery and Its Abolition, 125. 

64. Wilberforce, Life of Wilberforce, V, 180. 

65. Hansard, New Series, IX, 467. May 22, 1823. 

66. Ibid., New Series, VII, 698. May 17, 1822. 

67. Coupland, The British Anti-Slavery Movement, 124. 

68. Klingberg, op. cit., 203. 

69. Burn, op. cit., 88. 

70. Ragatz, The Fall of the Planter Class . . ., 436. 

71. Hansard, New Series, IX, 349. Baring, May 15, 1823. 

72. Klinberg, op. cit., 146. 

73. Ibid., 147-148. 

74. Wilberforce later admitted that "we have had the religious char- 
acter of Alexander the Great represented to us ... in too favourable 
colours." To Lady Olivia Sparrow, May 31, 1814. In Wilberforce Museum, 
D.B. 25 (60). He wrote^a strong letter to the Tsar on the subject. Wilber- 
force, Life of Wilberforce, V, 136-137. Wilberforce to Macaulay, Nov. 
20, 1822. Wilberforce regarded the Tsar's importation of Brazilian produce 
after his promise to boycott it as "a breach of faith of which any private 

NOTES TO PAGES 189-193 257 

man who should be guilty would forfeit for ever the character of a man 
of honor." Liverpool Papers, Add. MSS. 38578, ff. 31-32. Wilberforce 
to Liverpool, Sept. 4, 1822. 

75. Correspondence . . . of Castlereagh, XII, 4-35. Memorandum of 
James Stephen, Sept. 8, 1818, "relative to Africa and colonial discussions 
that may have place in the Congress at Aix-la-Chapelle." 

76. Wilberforce, Life of Wilberforce, IV, 133. 

77. Hansard, XXVIII, 279, 284. June 27, 1814. 

78. Ibid., 393. June 28, 1814. 

79. Wilberforce, Life of Wilberforce, IV, 209. Sept. 7, 1814. 

80. Despatches ... of Wellington, V, 15. Sept. 4, 1828. 

81. Hansard, Third Series, XCVI, 37. Bentinck, Feb. 3, 1848. 

82. Pamphlets in the John Rylands Library. 

83. The Liverpool Mercury and Lancashire General Advertiser, July 
23, 1832, reporting a meeting of the Liverpool West India Association. 

84. Ibid., Aug. 24, 1832. Letter of "Another Elector" to "An Elector." 

85. Anonymous, The Tariff of Conscience. The Trade in Slave Pro- 
duce considered and condemned (Newcastle Anti-Slavery Series, No. u, 
n.d.) . John Rylands Library. 

86. Anonymous, Conscience versus Cotton; or, the Preference of 
Free Labour Produce (Newcastle Anti-Slavery Series, No. 10, n.d.). 
John Rylands Library. 

87. Hansard, Third Series, XIX, 1177. July 24, 1833. 

88. Ibid., Third Series, VI, 1353. Sept. 12, 1831. 

89. Ibid., 1355. Hume. 

oo. Eng. MS. 415. Buxton to Mrs. Rawson, Oct. 6, 1833. 

91. Hansard, Third Series, XCIX, 1022. June 22, 1848. 

92. Eng. MS. 415. Buxton to Mrs. Rawson, Oct. 6, 1833. 

93. Gurney to Scoble, Dec. 5, 1840. Wilberforce Museum, D.B. 883. 

94. Hansard, Third Series, LXXXI, 1159. Quoted by Hutt, June 24, 

95. Ibid., Third Series, CIX, 1098. Quoted by Hutt, March 19, 1850. 
In 1858, Wilberforce stated: "We had no right to put ourselves forward 
to the world as the suppressors of the slave trade unless we were prepared 
honestly and firmly to enforce those treaties for its suppression which our 
allies had made with us." Ibid., Third Series, CL, 2200. June 17, 1858. 

06. Ibid., Third Series, XCIX, 849. June 19, 1848. In 1850 Buxton called 
for the exclusion of slave-grown sugar, though not of slave-grown cotton 
and tobacco, arguing that "he saw no reason why he should not oppose 
an evil that he could successfully oppose, because there were other evils 
that it was impossible for him to oppose." Ibid., Third Series, CXI, 533. 
May 31, 1850. In 1857, he moved an address to the Queen praying that 
all efforts be used to put down the Slave Trade. Ibid., Third Series, 
CXLVI, 1857. July 14, 1857. This change of opinion coincided with a 
change in the viewpoint of the capitalists. Hutt was chairman of a com- 
mittee in 1849 which described the efforts to suppress the slave trade as 

258 NOTES TO PAGES 193-198 

impracticable and hopeless. Another committee in 1853, of which both 
Hutt and Bright were members, declared that "these efforts in the cause 
of humanity, continued through so many years, must be considered as 
honourable to the nation, and the results afforded a strong inducement 
to persevere until this iniquitous trade shall be entirely abolished." 
Mathieson, Great Britain and the Slave Trade, 133-134. 

97. Hansard, Third Series, CXXXIX, 116. June 26, 1855. 

98. Ibid., Thtrd Series, LXXVI, 187. July 2, 1844. 

99. Ibid., Third Series, CL, 2205. June 17, 1858. 

100. Ibid., Third Series, LXXVII, 1290, 1292, 1300, 1302. Feb. 26, 1845. 

101. Ibid., Third Series, LVIII, 193. May n, 1841. 

102. Ibid., Third Series, LXXVII, 1290. Feb. 26, 1845. 

103. Ibid., Thrrd Series, LXXXVIII, 4-5. July 27, 1846. This was a 
petition from Clarkson to the House of Lords presented by Brougham. 

104. Mathieson, Great Britain and the Slave Trade, 34-35. The reference 
is to "head-money" 4 a ton on every ship captured without slaves, 5 a 
head on slaves delivered alive, 2.10.0. on those who died after capture. 

105. Hansard, Third Series, XCVI, 85. Feb. 4, 1848. 

106. Ibid., Third Series, L, 131. Inglis, Aug. 8, 1839. 

107. Ibid., Third Series, XCIX, 1324. Inglis, June 29, 1848. 

108. Ibid., Third Series, LXXXVIII, 163. Quoted by Disraeli, July 28, 

109. Merivale, op. cit., 303-304. 

uo. Hansard, Third Series, XCVI, 133. Feb. 4, 1848. 
in. Morley, op. cit., I, 78. 

112. Sypher, op. cit., 217. 

113. E. B. Dykes, The Negro in English Romantic Thought (Wash- 
ington, D. C., 1942), 79-80. 

114. Sypher, op. cit., 215-216; Dykes, op. cit., 70. 

115. Lewis, op. cit., 15, 17. 

1 1 6. Ibid., 13-14. 

117. T. Caryle, "The Nigger Question," in English and other Critical 
Essays (Everyman's Edition, London, 1925). The whole essay, written 
in 1849, should be read. 

118. Hansard, Third Series, XCVI, 1052. Feb. 22, 1848. 


i. See C. L. R. James, The Black Jacobins (London, 1938) for the slave 
revolution in Saint Domingue. H. Aptheker, Negro Slave Revolts in the 
United States (New York, 1943), should also be consulted. An admirable 
short summary, for the entire Western Hemisphere, is to be found in 
Herskovits, op. cit., 86-109. 

i a. C. O. 28/95. House of Assembly, Barbados, Nov. 15, 1825. 


2. C. O. 28/92. Report of a Debate in Council on a despatch from Lord 
Bathurst to Sir H. Warde, Sept. 3, 1823. Mr. Hamden, pp. 21-22. See also 
C. O. 295/59, where the governor of Trinidad argued that this concession 
to the female slaves would be considered an injustice by the men. Wood- 
ford to Bathurst, Aug. 6, 1823; C. O. 295/60. Mr. Burnley, one of the lead- 
ing planters of Trinidad: "I confess the idea appears to me so monstrous 
and extraordinary that I hardly know how to approach the subject." 

3. C. O. 28/92. Report of a Debate in Council. . . . Mr. Hamden, p. 5. 

4. C. O. 137/145. Shand to Bathurst, Nov. 26, 1817. 

5. C. O. 137/148. Manchester to Bathurst, July 10, 1819. 

6. C. O. 28/92. Report of a Debate in Council. . . . Mr. Hamden, p. 24. 

7. C. O. 295/92. Edward Jackson to Governor Grant, Dec. 31, 1831. 

8. C. O. 137/156. Manchester to Bathurst, Dec. 24, 1824. 

9. C. O. 137/163. Manchester to Bathurst, Nov. 13, 1826. 

10. C. O. 137/154. Manchester to Bathurst, Oct. 13, 1823. 

1 1. C. O. ii 1/55. D'Urban to Bathurst, July 4, 1826. 

12. C. O. 295/85. Oct. 29, 1830. The following is the number of manu- 
missions, 1825-1830: 

Year Number Manumissions Field Domestic 

Manumitted Paid for Slaves Slaves 

1825 162 98 38 124 

1826 167 108 46 121 

1827 167 129 49 118 

1828 128 84 33 95 

1829 87 41 15 72 

1830 32 22 6 26 
(to Oct. 29.) 

13. C. O. 295/72. Woodford to Bathurst, Aug. 8, 1826. 

14. C. 0. 295/73. Stephen to Horton, Oct. 5, 1826. 

15. C. O. 295/67. Henry Gloster, Protector of Slaves, to Governor 
Woodford, July 7, 1825. Fitzgerald's returns are as follows: Slave John 
Philip "7 stripes on that part where if the foot be hostilely applied is 
considered in all civilized countries an act of the vilest indignity"; Slave 
Philip "23 stripes on that part which my Lord Chesterfield strongly 
recommends to be the last to enter and the first to retire on all presenta- 
tions at levies and to name which in the presence of ladies is considered a 
great breach in the laws of politeness"; Slave Simon Mind "23 stripes on 
that particular part of the body corporate which is rarely guilty of a 
crime but which pays for transgressions committed by other members." 

1 6. Bell and Morrell, op. cit., p. 382. 

17. C. O. 28/09. Carrington, Agent for Barbados, to Bathurst, March 2, 

18. C. O. 28/93. Warde to Bathurst, Oct. 21, 1824. 

19. C. O. 28/92. Report of a Debate in Council. . . , p. 33. 


20. C. O. 137/165. Message of House of Assembly, Dec. 1827. 

21. C. O. 137/143. Oct. 31, 1815. 

22. Bell and Morrell, op. cit., 405. Protest of Assembly of Jamaica, June, 

23. C. O. 137/183. Manchester to Goderich, Nov. 13, 1832. 

24. Ibid. Manchester to Goderich, Dec. 16, 1832. 

25. C. O. 137/186. Memorial of the Jamaica deputies to Britain, Nov. 
29, 1832. 

26. C. O. 137/183. Manchester to Goderich, secret and confidential, 
Dec. 16, 1832. 

27. Hansard, XXXI, 781-782. Marry at, June 13, 1815. 

28. C. O. 137/183. Manchester to Goderich, secret and confidential, 
Dec. 16, 1832. 

29. C. O. 137/187. Z. Jones to Goderich, Feb. 22, 1832. 

30. C. O. 137/187. Goderich to Manchester, secret, March 5, 1832. 

31. The phrase is Canning's. 

32. C. O. 137/154. Manchester to Bathurst, Dec. 24, 1823. 

33. C. O. 28/111. Smith to Stanley, July 13, 1833. 

34. C. O. 295/92. Memorial for ourselves and in behalf of all our fellow 
subjects of African descent (enclosed in Governor Grant's despatch to 
Goderich, March 26, 1832). 

35. Ibid. Grant to Goderich, March 26, 1832. 

36. Ibid. William Clunes to Goderich, Jan. 27, 1832. 

37. C. O. 28/111. Smith to Stanley, May 23, 1833. 

38. C. O. 28/88. Combennere to Bathurst, Jan. 15, 1819. 

39. C. O. 111/69. D'Urban to Murray, April 20, 1830. See also C. O. 
295/87. Smith to Goderich from Trinidad, July 13, 1831: "The slaves 
have an unaccountable facility in obtaining partial, and generally dis- 
torted, information whenever a public document is about to be received 
which can in any way affect their condition or station." 

40. C. O. 295/92. Grant to Goderich, March 26, 1832. 

41. Ibid. Gazette Extraordinary, March 25, 1832. 

42. C. O. 295/93. Extract from a Trinidad paper, n.d. 

43. C. O. 295/92. Grant to Howick, April 30, 1832. 

44. C. O. 137/119. Coote to Castlereagh, June 27, 1807; C. O. 137/120, 
Edmund Lyon, Agent for Jamaica, to Castlereagh, July 17, 1807. 

45. C. O. 137/142. Manchester to Bathurst, Jan. 26, 1816. 

46. C. O. 137/143. Extract of a letter from Jamaica, May 11, 1816. 

47. C. O. 295/39. J onn Spooner, of Barbados, to Governor Woodford. 
April 1 8, 1816. 

48. C. O. 28/85. Co1 - Codd to Governor Leith, April 25, 1816; Ibid.. 
Rear Admiral Harvey to J. W. Croker, April 30, 1816. 

49. C. O. 295/60. A commandant of Trinidad to Governor Woodford, 
Aug. 30, 1823. 

50. C. O. 137/145. Shand to Bathurst, NOV, 26, 1817. 

NOTES TO PAGES 203-208 261 

51. C. O. 111/44. D'Urban to Bathurst, May 5, 1824. 
52 C. O. 295/89. Grant to Howick, Dec. 10, 1831. 

53. C. O. 137/183. Mulgrave to Howick, Aug. 6, 1832. 

54. C. O. 28/111. Smith to Stanley, May 23, 1833. 

55. C. O. 1 1 1/8. Nicholson to Castlereagh, June 6, 1808. 

56. C. O. 137/156. Manchester to Bathurst, July 31, 1824. 

57. C. O. 28/85. Leith to Bathurst, April 30, 1816. 

58. Ibid. Codd to Leith, April 25, 1816. 

59. Ibid. Leith to Bathurst, April 30, 1816. 

60. C. O. 137/143. Alexander Aikman, Jr. to Bathurst, May 2, 1816. 

6 1. C. O. 137/142. Manchester to Bathurst, May 4, 1816. 

62. C. O. ii 1/39. Murray to Bathurst, Aug. 24, 1823. 

63. Ibid. Murray to Bathurst, Sept. 27, 1823. 

64. C. O. 28/92. Warde to Bathurst, Aug. 27, 1823. 

65. C. O. 137/156. Manchester to Bathurst, July 31, 1824. 

66. C. O. 1 1 1/44. D'Urban to Bathurst, May 5, 1824. 

67. Ibid. D'Urban to Bathurst, May 5, 1824. (This was the second 
letter in one day.) 

68. Ibid. D'Urban to Bathurst, May 15, 1824. 

69. C. O. 28/107. Lyon to Goderich, March 28, 1831. 

70. Ibid. Lyon to Goderich, April 2, 1831. 

7i.C. O. 137/181. Beltnore to Goderich, Jan. 6, 1832. 

72. C. O. 137/182. Belmore to Goderich, May 2, 1832. 

73. C. O. 295/92. Grant to Howick, April 30, 1832. 

74. C. O. 137/188. Mulgrave to Goderich, April 26, 1833. 

75. Hansard, Third Series, XIII, 77. May 24, 1832. 

76. C. O. 137/191. F. B. Zuicke to Governor Belmore, May 23, 1832. 

77. C. O. 28/111. Smith to Goderich, May 7, 1833. 

78. Ibid. 

79. Ibid. Smith to Stanley, May 23, 1833. 


i. Gaston-Martin, Vtre des Negriers, 1714-1774 (Paris, 1931), 424. 


This book is based on a doctoral dissertation, "The Economic 
Aspect of the Abolition of the British West Indian Slave Trade and 
Slavery," submitted to the Faculty of Modern History of Oxford 
University in September, 1938. Manuscript sources have been con- 
sulted chiefly for the years 1783-1833, the period covered by the 


1. Colonial Office Papers. There is no need to stress the value of 
this source. While quotations have been reduced to a minimum, 
those selected for the text have been based on a thorough investiga- 
tion of more than 230 volumes, embracing Jamaica, Barbados, 
Trinidad and Demerara (British Guiana), and covering the period 
1789-1796 (the early years of the Abolition Movement) and 1807 
to 1833. The call numbers are C.O. 27 (Barbados), C.O. in (De- 
merara, that is, British Guiana), C.O. 295 (Trinidad), C.O. 137 

2. Chatham Papers, G.D./8. These were tapped only for the cor- 
respondence and records of the younger Pitt and not of his father. 
Much information on Chatham is scattered in the work of Pares. 
The papers consulted yielded much valuable material on the British 
islands, Saint Domingue and India, and as Pitt dominated the British 
parliamentary scene from 1784 until his death in 1806, the collection 
is of cardinal importance. 

3. Foreign Office Papers. These were used especially for the years 
1787 to 1793 and with specific reference to the British government's 
attitude to French Saint Domingue; a few important items have been 
included in the text. The call number is F.O. 27 (France). 



4. Customs Records. The records consulted were Customs 8 y 
British exports, for the years 1814 to 1832; and Customs j, British 


1. Liverpool Papers. This is the most important of the collection 
of Additional Manuscripts for this study. The papers run into many 
volumes; specific references on each occasion will be found in the 
Notes. As a West Indian proprietor and President of the Board of 
Trade, Lord Hawkesbury, later first Earl of Liverpool, occupied 
a prominent position in the period of the Abolition Movement. His 
correspondence includes many valuable letters and memoranda rela- 
tive to the slave trade, the British and French colonies, British nego- 
tiations with the rebellious French colonists during the war with 
France, and the question of East India Sugar. 

2. Minute Books of the Committee for the Abolition of the 
Slave Trade three volumes containing much useful and pertinent 

3. Auckland Papers. These are the papers of the British envoy sent 
to persuade the French in 1787 to abolish the slave trade; they con- 
tain five very valuable letters from William Wilberforce to supple- 
ment the biographies of the abolitionist. 

4. Huskisson Papers. These papers contain some excellent mate- 
rial on Huskisson's views of emancipation, the West Indians, and the 


This library possesses three important manuscripts for this study. 
They are Vol. 10 of the Holt and Gregson Papers, full of statistics 
on Liverpool's dependence on the slave trade and letters from 
Matthew Gregson on the same subject; correspondence of a slave 
trader, Robert Bostock; with his captains for the years 1789-1792; 
and the Journals of Liverpool Slave Ships, 1779-1788. 


In this famous provincial library, in a key town for the develop- 
ment of British Capitalism and its relation to Negro slavery, there 
are the hitherto unused English Manuscripts. The collection con- 
tains much material on East India sugar and the boycott of West 
Indian slave produce; the letter of Buxton offering Christianity to 


the Negroes as compensation for slavery; and an interesting letter 
from T. B. Alacaulay pleading pressure of business as the reason for 
his inability to contribute to a projected anthology to celebrate the 
Emancipation Act. 


This institution contains very little material. A few letters here 
and there, such as Gurney's on the value of Evangelization to Africa, 
are quoted in the text, with such call numbers as existed at the time 
of my visit (June 1939). The value of the Museum lies not in its 
literary records but in its exhibit of the gruesome instruments used 
in the slave trade. In one of the rooms there is a framed list of slaves 
on "Orange Hill Estate" (location not given) which, among the 
classifications according to labor, age and color, has one interesting 
category into which fall five of the slaves, varying in age from i year 
and 8 months to 20 years "mongrels." Just what constituted a mon- 
grel, on a plantation with the more familiar divisions of black, 
mulatto, etc., is not clear. 


In the possession of Rhodes House there is a manuscript volume 
in the handwriting of the abolitionist, James Ramsay. It is an inter- 
esting collection of notes, memoranda and speeches useful not only 
for a study of the abolition movement in general but for the light 
they throw on an abolitionist too little known from his few pam- 
phlets and the evidence he gave before the Privy Council in 1788. 


The Stock Ledgers of the East India Company are kept here. 
The volumes examined were the East India Company Subscription 
journals to ,800,000 additional stock, July, 1786, and East India 
Company Stock Ledgers, 1783-1791, 1791-1796. They were con- 
sulted for the connection between East Indians and abolitionists. 


i . Hansard. The importance of the Parliamentary Debates for this 
period needs to be emphasized, for with thfe exception of one British 
writer, W. L. Mathieson, no real attempt has been made to utilize 
a source whose value, it might be thought, would be readily ap- 


parent. The debates have been thoroughly covered, for the years 
1650 to 1860. For the earlier period ending roughly at 1760, the 
speeches are widely scattered, but, fortunately for the student, they 
have been collected and compiled in an easily consulted form by a 
painstaking worker, L. F. Stock, under the title of Proceedings and 
Debates in the British Parliament respecting North America, and 
published, in five volumes to date, under the auspices of the Car- 
negie Institution. 

For the years 1760 to 1860 the parliamentary debates appear 
under the following different titles: 1760 to 1803, Cobberfs Parlia- 
mentary History of England; 1803 to 1812, C obb erf s Parliamentary 
Debates; 1812 to 1820, Hansard; 1820 to 1830, Hansard, New Series; 
1830 to 1860, Hansard, Third Series. I have kept this official division 
to facilitate checking or consultation. This seemed more satisfactory 
than the use of the single word Hansard to cover entirely different 
series, which would entail serious confusion as far as different vol- 
umes are concerned. In the earlier period many years' debates are 
included in a single volume; for the debates for 1845 and later 
years in general, a single year means usually four separate volumes. 

2. Documents Illustrative of the Slave Trade to America. This re- 
markable four-volume work, another publication of the Carnegie 
Institution, puts the student of Negro slavery eternally in the debt 
of the late Professor Elizabeth Donnan and her able assistants. For 
present purposes the most important volume was Volume II, which 
deals with the eighteenth century and the West Indies. But Volume 
I, the seventeenth century, is also very useful especially for the 
period after 1688, while, where necessary, Volumes III and IV, deal- 
ing with the Northern and Middle, and the Southern Colonies of 
the mainland respectively, have been consulted. 

3. Parliamentary Papers. Under this heading I include the papers 
submitted to Parliament and evidence collected by Parliamentary 
Committees. A detailed list is unnecessary in view of references 
given in the Notes, but from 1 784 to 1 848 there are many useful re- 
ports which cannot be ignored for a study of the West Indies. If 
only because its existence is little known and its vast possibilities are 
still to be explored, special mention should be made of Volume 48 of 
the Sessional Papers for the Years 1837-1838, which gives a de- 
tailed list of the claims for compensation of slaves in accordance 
with the Emancipation Act of 1833. The only complete collection 
of the Parliamentary Papers in existence is in the British Museum. 

4. Report of the Committee of the Lords of the Privy Council 


for all Matters Relating to Trade and Foreign Plantations, 1788. 
This is an indispensable document for anyone who seeks to under- 
stand the situation of the sugar colonies after the American Revolu- 
tion. It is certain that it was this report which explains the attitude 
of Pitt to the slave trade. Running into many pages, its most impor- 
tant sections are Part III, dealing with the conditions of the slaves; 
Part V, French competition in the sugar trade; and Part VI, Mis- 
cellaneous Papers received in the late stages of publication of the 

5. The correspondence and memoranda of various leading states- 
men of the period have been published, at least in part Canning, 
Castlereagh, Wellington and Grenville (the last by the Historical 
Manuscripts Commission under the title of The Manuscripts of /. B. 
Fortescue Esq., preserved at Dropmore). In this category might 
well be included the Correspondence of William Wilberforce and 
the Private Papers of William Wilberforce, published by his sons. 

6. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, America and West 
Indies. Equipped with an excellent index, these volumes include 
many items, generally in condensed form, relative to the West 
Indies, sugar cultivation, the slave trade, and economic relations 
between islands and mainland, while they also contain much useful 
information on the white servants in the islands. The volumes con- 
sulted cover the period 1611 to 1697. 



The contemporary material is voluminous. The writings of the 
leading mercantilists, Postlethwayt, Davenant, Gee, Sir Dalby 
Thomas, Wood, have been carefully examined; so has The Wealth 
of Nations, the anti-mercantilist classic. Contemporary information 
on the indentured servants is limited, but what exists is useful. The 
bitter polemical warfare between West Indians and East Indian's, of 
great importance, has been thoroughly investigated; in addition to 
the material in the British Museum, there were the resources of the 
India Office Library and the pamphlet series of the John Rylands 
Library. Bryan Edwards' well-known History of the British West 
Indies deserves some notice, not only for its intrinsic value, but 
as one of those rare cultural landmarks in a slave society which, un- 
like the slave society of Greece, despised education and did not 


reproduce any of the great gifts of Greece to the world. In addition 
numerous local histories, especially of the great seaport towns and 
industrial centers, and contemporary accounts of the growth of 
British commerce and industry, have been examined. The writings of 
the abolitionists themselves have been used to a large extent, espe- 
cially the well-known five-volume, rambling but informative biog- 
raphy of Wilberforce by his sons. 


The listing of authorities and sources is unnecessary in any study 
of the British West Indies which covers the years 1763-1833. 
There is a story to the effect that in the abolitionist circle, when- 
ever a point was in dispute, someone would remark, "Look it up in 
Macaulay." "Look it up in Ragatz" would not be an exaggeration 
for Caribbean history during the period 1763-1833. Ragatz' The Fall 
of the Planter Class in the British Caribbean is a comprehensive 
study of the original sources. His Guide for the Study of British 
Caribbean History, 1763-1834 (Washington, D. C, 1932) is an in- 
dispensable aid to the student of the Caribbean, who will find in it 
not only a complete list of works of all sorts but also a succinct 
precis of the leading ideas advanced in each work. The same writer's 
Statistics for the Study of British Caribbean History, 1763-1833 
gives valuable statistical data. The Check Lists of House of Com- 
mons and House of Lords Sessional Papers, 1763-1834 should be con- 
sulted by all students baffled by apparently conflicting ways of re- 
ferring to such papers in this period. Professor Ragatz' three bibliog- 
raphies: A List of Books and Articles on Colonial History and 
Overseas Expansion published in the United States, for the years 
1900-1930, 1931-1932, 1933-1935, respectively, cite numerous books 
and articles which treat of the position of the white indentured 
servant. Finally his most recent bibliography: A Bibliography for 
the Study of European History, 1815 to 1939 (Ann Arbor, 1942) 
gives, on pages 140-158, an exhaustive list of works on the United 
Kingdom, which contains many useful titles for the development of 
Britain in the nineteenth century. 

After Professor Ragatz comes yet another American scholar 
whose work on the Caribbean deserves especial mention, more so as 
it actually supplements, in the period of which it treats, the research 
of Ragatz. Professor Frank Pitman's The Development of the 
British West Indies, 1700-1763 is another outstanding piece of work 


based, like Ragatz', on a careful analysis of original materials. The 
same author's essay on The Settlement and Financing of British 
West India Plantations in the Eighteenth Century, one of many 
essays written by students of C. M. Andrews in his honor, is noth- 
ing short of a masterpiece. 

Two English studies deserve to be separated from the idealistic 
and garbled versions of slavery familiar in England. Richard Pares' 
War and Trade in the West Indies, 1739-1163, while inevitably full 
of war and diplomacy, none the less contains vital information on 
the West Indies, and is of great importance for the attitude of the 
West Indian planters to the foreign sugar colonies. Where the social 
and economic with Pares are subordinate, they dominate with W. L. 
Burn. The latter's Emancipation and Apprenticeship in the British 
West Indies is a scholarly analysis of the apprenticeship system, 
1833-1838, though the first three chapters of the book, which deal 
with emancipation, are of less value, partly because the author was 
content with secondary sources. Among the lesser English writers, 
W. L. Mathieson is entitled to some mention if only because while, 
like Coupland, he used only secondary sources, unlike Coupland, 
he used them well and remembered that England has a Parliament, 
where debates are held. With a better index, his four works on 
slavery would be useful references. Coupland represents the senti- 
mental conception of history; his works help us to understand what 
the abolition movement was not. Compared with his earlier venture 
into the field of slavery, England and Slavery (London, 1934), 
C. M. Maclnnes' Bristol, a Gateway of Empire is a healthy de- 
parture from emotional to scientific history; the latter work is based 
on unpublished materials in the Bristol archives. American historical 
idealism is represented by F. J. Klingberg's The Anti-Slavery Move- 
ment in England. 

Special mention must be made of two studies which present in a 
general ^ay the relationship between capitalism and slavery. The 
first is a Master's essay by W. E. Williams: Africa and the Rise of 
CapitalisfHy published by the Division of the Social Sciences of 
Howard University in 1938. The second and more important is 
C. L. R. James, The Black Jacobins, Toussaint UOuverture and the 
San Domingo Revolution (London, 1938). On pages 38-41 the thesis 
advanced in this book is stated clearly and concisely and, as far as 
I know, for the first time in English. 

In the field of colonial policy in general, two books are indis- 
pensable. C. M. Andrews, The Colonial Period of American 
History, not merely includes excellent chapters on Barbados and 


Jamaica; it puts the sugar islands in their proper perspective in the 
mercantilist picture, while his description and analysis of the laws of 
trade and the colonial system in general are an essential introduction 
to any student of the first British Empire. Less broad in scope, but 
just as pertinent, is G. L. Beer's The Old Colonial System. Merivale's 
lectures at Oxford during the years 1839 to 1841 on Colonization 
and Colonies is Oxford scholarship at its best, while Bell and Mor- 
rell's Select Docmnents on British Colonial Policy, 1830-1860 in- 
cludes some very valuable reproductions of original documents for 
a vital period. For special studies of the West Indies under the old 
colonial system the works of Harlow, Williamson, and Higham are 
very important, Harlow's History of Barbados being the best of the 
three as showing an understanding of the fact that Barbadian for 
that matter, British West Indian problems of the twentieth cen- 
tury have their roots in the economic and social changes of the 
seventeenth, represented by sugar and slavery. 

Works on the growth and development of individual British 
industries are indicated in the Notes to the respective chapters. For 
the best general treatment of the development of capitalism in 
England, only two names need be mentioned Mantoux and Clap- 
ham. Chapter V of Clapham's Economic History of Modern 
Britain, The Early Railway Age, is the best short analysis of the 
Industrial Revolution, while his essay on u The Industrial Revolution 
and the Colonies, 1783-1822" in Vol. II of the Cambridge History 
of the British Empire shows a more intelligent understanding of the 
abolition movement and the destruction of West Indian slavery than 
is to be found in all the works of the "official" British historians. 

In the field of literature Professor Sypher's Guinea's Captive 
Kings: British Anti-Slavery Literature of the XVI llth Century is 
one of those excellent studies on Negro slavery which we have 
learned to associate with the University of North Carolina Press. 
While the book is very weak in some respects unpardonably 
weak from the political angle, it is an intelligent and compre- 
hensive analysis of the literature of the period, and as such, a useful 
aid for the social sciences. It can profitably be supplemented by 
a recent publication of one of my colleagues, Dr. Eva Dykes' The 
Negro in English Rowantic Thought (Associated Publishers, Wash- 
ington, D. C, 1942). Marguerite Steen's best-seller novel, The Sun is 
My Undoing, reveals a profound understanding of the triangular 
trade and its importance to British capitalism. 

Such sources as have been used for the development of French 
Saint Domingue and Spanish Cuba during the period under review 


have necessarily been secondary sources. For France the most im- 
portant writer is Gaston-Martin. A Rosenwald Fellowship in the 
summer of 1940 permitted me to work in the archives and libraries 
of Cuba. Pezuela's comprehensive Diccionario of the Island includes 
excellent material under the heading "Azucar" (Sugar), while Los 
Ingenios de la Isla de Cuba, by a contemporary sugar baron, Cantero, 
is a lyrical, profusely illustrated, valuable and rare work. 

I have, in three published articles, treated in greater detail some of 
the issues currently raised: "The Golden Age of the Slave System 
in Britain" (Journal of Negro History, Jan. 1940); **The Inter- 
colonial Slave Trade after its Abolition in 1807" (Journal of Negro 
History, April 1942); "Protection, Laisser-Faire and Sugar" (Polit- 
ical Science Quarterly, March 1943). 


Abolitionists, hypocrisy of, 34; 
significance of attack on W. I., 
135-36; strength of in industrial 
centers, 154; in Manchester, 155; 
in Birmingham, 157-58; in Shef- 
field, 1 59; boycott of slave-grown 
produce by, 159, 183-84, 190; 
support of Cobden by, 161; A. 
Committee, 166, 182-83; portraits 
of, 179-82; and emancipation, 
182-83; on East India sugar, 183- 
88; relations with East Indians, 
183-88; on Brazilian sugar, 188- 
91, 193-94; on universal abolition 
of slave trade, 189; on reconquest 
of Saint Domingue, 189 

Absentee planters, and Deficiency 
Laws, 25, 86-87; consequences of 
absenteeism, 85-86; Merivale on, 
86; social position in England, 91 

Adams, John, 120-21 

Africa, British trade with, 54-55, 
171; trade compared with Amer- 
ican mainland colonies, 54-55; 
shipping and trade with, 58; 
Bristol's trade with, 61; exports 
of wool to, 65-68; Manchester's 
trade with, 68-70; exports of rum 
to, 78-80; iron exports to, 81-82; 
exports of guns to, 82; exports 
of brass to, 83 

Agricultural Revolution, 98, 120 

American mainland colonies, trade 

with Britain compared with W. 
I. trade, 53-55; shipping and trade 
with, 58; triangular trade of, 
78, 80, 1 1 6; molasses and, 80-8 1, 
115-16, 118-20; exports to W. I., 
1 08; attitude of mercantilists to, 
109-11; personal contacts with 
West Indians, 112; economic re- 
lations with W. I., 108-22; trade 
with foreign W. I., 115-20; mer- 
cantilists on trade of with for- 
eign W. I., 116-19; William 
Wood on trade of with foreign 
W. I., 118-19; effect of Molasses 
Act on, 119; effect of Sugar 
Duties Act on, 119-20 

American Revolution, 50, 130; 
effect on slave trade, 38; effect 
on cotton trade, 69, 72; effect on 
sugar trade, 77-78; effect on mer- 
cantilism, 06, 107, 120; molasses 
an essential ingredient of, 120; 
effect on W. I., 120-25; effect on 
W. I. slave system, 123-24; effect 
on old colonial system, 124-26; 
British reaction to, 209-10 

Andrews, C. M., 56 

Anglo-French rivalry, rival mer- 
cantilisms, 40; in sugar trade, 77- 
78, 116, 122-23, H5-48 

Anti-Corn Law League, 137, 155, 

Antigua, trade of compared with 


272 INDEX 

American mainland colonies, 54- 
55; decline of sugar production 
in, 150-51; emancipation in, 191; 
slave revolt in, 206 

Apprenticeship, Birmingham on, 
158; Sheffield on, 159 

Asiento, importance of, 33; Postle- 
thwayt on, 33; to Portugal, 39; 
Anglo-French struggle for, 40; 
Bishop Robinson and, 42 

Attwood, Thomas, 158 

Auckland, Earl of, 184-85 

Australia, labor problem in, 5; 
convict labor in, 12; white labor 
in, 22-23; woolen production of, 
131; Molesworth on, 143 

JDacon, Antony, 103-4 

Baillie family, 62 

Baptists, 43 

Barbados, 7; governor on weakness 
of Spain, 4; Monmouth's follow- 
ers sent to, 13; conditions of 
servants, 16-17; cheapness of 
black labor in, 19; decline of 
white population, 23; increase of 
black population, 23; ex-servants, 
24; Redlegs, 25; sugar and in- 
crease of wealth, 25; growth of 
Latifundia, 25; on Christianity 
for slaves, 42; trade of compared 
with American mainland colo- 
nies, 54-55; on free trade in 
sugar, 56-57; woolen imports, 67; 
Codrington family in, 00; 
Charles II on importance of, 108; 
governor on trade with New 
England, no; soil exhaustion in, 
112-13; attitude to new settle- 
ments, 113; compared with 
French islands, 113-14; sugar pro- 
duction in, 151; emancipation in, 
191; on policy of amelioration, 
197-09; attitude of planters to 
slaves, 201; free people of color 

in, 201; misconceptions of slaves 
in, 203-4; s ^ ave revolts in, 204-6; 
governor on slave revolt in 
British Guiana, 205; governor on 
cruelty of suspense, 207-8 

Barclay family, slave trading of, 
43; banking interests of, 101 

Baring family, 43, 171 

Beckford, William, Fonthill Man- 
sion, 87-88; slave compensation 
to, 88; family dynasty in Parlia- 
ment, 93; Mayor of London, 95; 
on increase of sugar duties, 06; 
master ironmonger, 104; role of 
in peace treaty of 1763, 115 

Birmingham, in age of industry, 
60; gun trade of, 82; W. I. trade 
of, 82-83; exports of brass of, 83; 
slave trade and, 82, 84; on aboli- 
tion, 84; on Reform Bill, 134; 
opposition to W. I. monopoly, 
154; abolition movement in, 157- 
58; interest in slave trade, 158 

Blundcll, Bryan, 47 

Bolton, John, 93, 95 

Boulton, Matthew, 102, 126-27, 131, 


Brazil, slave trade, 47, 140, 170-75, 
192; cotton exports, 71-72; Brit- 
ish exports to, 132; restrictions 
on British trade with, 138; sugar 
cultivation in, 145, 150-52; sugar 
exports to Britain, 151; sugar ex- 
ports to Europe, 151; importa- 
tion of sugar of for refining, 
155, 163, 167, 193-94; Manchester 
on sugar of, 155; Brazilian Asso- 
ciation in Liverpool, 162; Glas- 
gow on sugar of, 163; boycott 
of produce of, 170-71; British 
trade with, 172; abolitionists on 
importation of sugar of, 188-91 

Bright, John, on W. I. monopoly, 
156; on British capital in Bra- 
zilian slave trade, 172; on sup- 

INDEX 273 

pression of slave trade, 173 
Bristol, trade in indentured serv- 
ants, 10, 19; kidnaping, n; Jef- 
freys' visitation to, 14-15; slave 
trade, 32, 61; Qarkson's investi- 
gations in, 35; profits of slave 
trade in, 36; Edmund Burke as 
representative of, 41; protest 
against colonial duties on slave 
imports, 41; enthusiasm over re- 
jection of Wilberforce's aboli- 
tion bill, 42; committee of 1789 
to oppose abolition, 48, 61, 101; 
in age of trade, 60; popularity of 
trade in, 60-61; W. I. trade, 60- 
62; customs duties in, 61; wharf- 
age dues in, 61; triangular trade 
of, 61; members of Parliament 
associated with W. I., 62, 74, 93; 
sugar refining industry, 73-74, 
77-78; distilleries in, 79; pacotille 
trade, 81; brass industry in, 83; 
banking in, 101; on Reform Bill, 


British Guiana, East Indian immi- 
gration to, 28; Gladstone planta- 
tions in, 89, 93; abolition in, 150- 
51; sugar production in, 151, 153; 
policy of amelioration in, 197-09; 
Bush Negroes in, 202; governor 
on alertness of slaves, 202; mis- 
conceptions of slaves in, 203; 
slave revolts in, 204-5 

Brougham, Lord, 181; on absentee 
planters, 86; representative of 
York, 1 59; spokesman for woolen 
industry, 160; on British capital 
in Brazilian slave trade, 172; on 
Pownall amendment, 183; on 
slavery in India, 186; on equaliza- 
tion of sugar duties, 188; on 
slavery in sugar but not in cot- 
ton, 193 

Burke, Edmund, 17, 41, 73 

Burn, W. L., 132, 188 

Buxton, Powell, 49; on gradual 
emancipation, 182; on Pownall 
amendment, 183; on slavery in 
India, 185-86; on equalization of 
sugar duties, 188; on importation 
of Brazilian sugar, 191; on eman- 
cipation, 191-92; on suppression 
of slave trade, 192; son of, 193 

v^anada, a secure and certain in- 
vestment, 4; Voltaire on, 114; 
British acquisition of, 114-15; 
compared with Grenada, 114; 
Disraeli on, 144 

Canning, George, attitude to West 
Indians, 95-96; on independence 
of Latin America, 132; repre- 
sentative of Liverpool, 162; on 
Brazilian trade, 170-71 

Capitalism, British, attack on W.I. 
system, 136; attack on monopoly, 
139; opposed to colonies, 142-45; 
on overproduction of sugar in 
West Indies, 152; opposed to 
W. I. monopoly, 154-68; opposed 
to suppression of slave trade, 
169-77; attitude to W. I. slavery, 

Carlyle, Thomas, 195-96 

Castlereagh, Lord, 189 

Chatham, Earl of, on British slave 
trade, 40; on colonial manufac- 
tures, 56; attitude to West In- 
dians, 95; influence of Beckford 
on, 95, 115; on mainland trade 
with foreign W. I., 117 

Child, Sir Josiah, on emigration, 
1 6; on value of labor in W. L, 
52; on New England, 109 

China, 20, 131; Chinese in Cuba, 
29; British exports to, 132, 134 

Church, the, and slavery, 42-44 

Clapham, J. H., 127, 129 

Clapham Sect, 181, 186 

Clarkson, Thomas, on size of 

274 INDEX 

slave ships, 35; on transportation 
of slaves, 35; on rise of Liverpool, 
63; on American Revolution, 
124; praised by Wordsworth, 
136, 195; French translations of 
works of, 147; on mortality of 
white sailors in slave trade, 166; 
humanitarianism of, 179; on East 
India sugar, 185; sent to Aix-la- 
Chapelle, 189; on slave-grown 
produce, 194 

Clay, William, 165, 167 

Cobbett, William, 133, 155 

Cobden, Richard, on colonies, 142- 
43; spokesman for woolen indus- 
try, 1 60-6 1 ; on W. I. monopoly, 
160-61; on slave-grown sugar, 
1 60-6 1 ; on suppression of slave 
trade, 173 

Codrington, Christopher, legacy to 
Society for the Propagation of 
the Gospel, 42; slave plantations 
of, oo; bequest to All Souls Col- 
lege, 90; descendant in Parlia- 
ment, 93 

Coleridge, Samuel, 195 

Colonial Office, 139, 143-44, 153, 
1 80 

Columbus, Christopher, 3, 8, 9 

Company of Merchants trading to 
Africa, 32; Edmund Burke on, 
41; Quakers in, 43; cotton manu- 
facturers as members of, 70 

Company of Royal Adventurers 
trading to Africa, incorporation, 
30-31; superseded by Royal Af- 
rican Company, 31; royal pa- 
tronage of, 39, 48 

Convicts, 9, 11; Benjamin Franklin 
on, 12; in Australia, 12; Merivale 
on, 12; in Virginia, 12; in W. I., 
12; after emancipation in W. I., 

2 7 I4 1 

Cotton, cotton gin, 20, 72, 124, 128, 
155; Negro Slavery and, 23; 

superseded wool, 68, 130; tech- 
nological changes in, 68; triangu- 
lar trade and, 68-73; manufac- 
turers of and slave trade, 70; 
Lancashire cotton interest, 97; 
expansion of, 106, 127-29, 132; 
opposition of manufacturers to 
W. I. monopoly, 154-57; imports 
from America, 162 

Coupland, Reginald, 45, 178, 188, 

Cowper, William, 45, 49 

Cromwell, Oliver, transportation 
of Irish prisoners, 13; on acquisi- 
tion of Jamaica, 108; on New 
England, 109 

Cropper, James, controversy with 
Gladstone, 90; arrangements on 
slavery, 186-87 

Cuba, 7; tobacco industry in com- 
pared with Virginia, 2 r ; American 
capital in, 26; white labor in to- 
bacco industry, 27; Chinese la- 
bor, 29; Haitian labor, 29; British 
W. I. labor, 29; British occupa- 
tion, 33, 114; slave trade, 47; 
British restoration of, 114-15; re- 
strictions on British trade with, 
138; sugar production, 145, 149- 
52; British sugar imports from, 
151; sugar exports to Europe, 
152; growth of sugar plantations, 

'5i-5 2 
Cunliffe, family, 47-48 

Uavenant, Charles, on monopoly 
in slave trade, 31; on value of 
labor in W. I., 52; on British 
trade in seventeenth century, 53; 
on colonies, 55; on sugar refining 
in colonies, 76; on wealth of 
West Indians, 86; on Northern 
mainland colonies, 110 

Declaration of Independence, 107, 

INDEX 275 

Deficiency Laws, 24-25 

Defoe, Daniel, 18, 48 

Disraeli, Benjamin, on W. I. mo- 
nopoly, 140; on W. I., 144; on 
colonies, 144; on suppression of 
slave trade, 175; on emancipa- 
tion, 194-95 

Dominica, compared with Florida, 
114-15; sugar production in, 151 

Dominican Republic, 26 

Dumbell, Professor, 26 

Dutch East Indies, 28 

Dutch Guiarta, 28 

C/ast India Company, compared 
with slave trading companies, 3 1 ; 
profits of, 37; mercantilists on 
trade of, 37; competition of 
Manchester with, 69; interest in 
slave trade of, 69; imports of 
guns by, 82; cultivation of sugar 
by, 123, 137-38, 140, 146, 151; 
monopoly of, 137; attack on 
W. I. monopoly by, 137-38; re- 
ceive sugar protection, 153; re- 
newal of charter of, 184 

East India Company (Dutch), 37 

East India Sugar, Manchester on, 
155; Sheffield on, 159; refiners 
on, 164; shipowners on, 167; 
abolitionists on, 183-88; slave- 
grown, 184-86 

Edwards, Bryan, 24, 90-91 

Ewart, William, 163, 167 

Exeter, Bishop of, 43; woolen in- 
dustry of, 66 

r azackerly, Sir William, 70 

Florida, 114-15 

Fortescue, J. W., 147 

Francis I, 4 

Francklyn, Gilbert, 103 

Franklin, Benjamin, 12, 45 

Free Trade, in slaves, 31-32; West 

Indians on, 56, 141; struggle 
against monopoly, 57; Jesus 
Christ and, 136; movement for, 
136-42; anti-imperialism and, 
French Revolution, 147, 209 

vJarbett, Samuel, 157 

Gascoyne, General, 105 

Gaston-Martin, 147, 209 

Gee, Joshua, 31 

George III, opposition to abolition 
of, 39; Beckford and, 95; coro- 
nation procession of, 128 

George IV, 128 

Georgia, 5, 7, 20, 43 

Gibson, Milner, 156 

Gladstone, John, of Corrie and 
Company, 89; slave plantations 
of, 89; chairman of Liverpool 
West Indian Association, 90; 
controversy with Cropper, oo; 
slave compensation to, 90; mem- 
ber of Parliar:ent, 93; friend of 
Canning, 95; banking connec- 
tions of, 09; insurance connec- 
tions of, 105; railway connections 
of, 105 

Gladstone, Robertson, 99 
Gladstone, William Ewart, elec- 
tion campaign in Newark, 89-90; 
defence of slavery by, 93; bank- 
ing connections of, 09; on W, I. 
monopoly, 141-42; on parliamen- 
tary interest in colonies, 144-45; 
on suppression of slave trade, 
175; on Civil War in the United 
States, 176-77; on protecting duty 
and Negroes, 191 

Glasgow, in age of trade, 60; co- 
lonial trade of, 64; sugar refining 
in, 64, 75; tobacco industry in, 
64, 75; Colonel Macdowall and, 
75, 91; banking in, 101-2; steam 
power in, 127; on free trade, 138; 

276 INDEX 

on importation of Brazilian su- 
gar, 163 

Glassford, John, 102 

Goulburn, Henry, 93-94 

Gregson, William, 99-100 

Grenada, compared with Canada, 
114; decline of sugar production, 

15*1 !53 
Guadeloupe, British occupation, 33; 

British slave trade to, 33; cotton 

exports of, 72; British restoration 

of, 114-15 
Guinea (coin), 44 
Gurney, Joseph, 158, 184, 192 

Jriarlow, Vincent, '17, 25 

Hatuey, 8 

Hawkesbury, Lord, 94-95, 146, 178, 

Hawkins, Sir John, 30, 39 

Henry the Navigator, Prince, 9 

Heywood family, slave trading of, 
47; importers of slave-grown cot- 
ton, 47; humanitarianism of, 47- 
48; banking interests of, 99 

Hibbert family, cotton manufac- 
turers, 71; sugar planters, 88; 
Hibbert trust, 88, 156; and W. I. 
Docks, 88; slave compensation 
to, 88; Hibbert's House, 88; Hib- 
bert Journal, 88-89; George Hib- 
bert, 88, 93, 95, 136 

Hogarth, William, 44, 79 

Holland, rivalry with England, 40; 
trade with British Colonies, 56 

House of Lords, opposition to 
abolition, 48; West Indians in, 
94; rejected Reform Bill, 133; 
protest to against Corn Laws, 138 

Howick, Lord, 166 

Hume, Joseph, 138, 143, 177 

Huskisson, William, attitude to 
West Indians, 95-96, 139; on les- 
sons of American Revolution, 
124-125; representative of Liver- 

pool, 162-63; on sugar refining 
in England, 165; on trade with 
India, 167 
Hutt, William, 173 

J amaica, 7; English officialdom on, 
17; German settlers in Seaford, 
22; slave imports, 33; duties on 
slaves imported, 41, 46; trade of 
compared with American main- 
land colonies, 54-55; Bristol's 
trade with, 61-62; on woolen in- 
dustry and monopoly in slave 
trade, 67; woolen imports of, 67; 
restriction of production in, 77, 
112-13; compared with Leeward 
Islands, 77; Beckford family in, 87- 
88; Hibbert family in, 88; Long 
family in, 89; Gladstone planta- 
tions in, 90; governor on in- 
creased sugar duties, 06; effect of 
American Revolution in, 121-23; 
decline of British exports to, 132; 
anti-British feeling in, 144, 200; 
Roebuck on, 144; bankruptcies 
in, 149; decline of sugar produc- 
tion in, 140-53; on suppression of 
slave trade, 176; on policy of 
amelioration, 198-99; attitude of 
planters to slaves, 201; Maroons 
in, 202; misconceptions of slaves 
in, 203-4; slave revolts in, 204-7; 
violence of planters in, 207 

Java, 150 

Jefferson, Thomas, 7, 18, 107, 120 

Jeffreys, Judge, 14-16 

Jenks, Leland, 131 

Klingberg, F. J., 188 
Knight, James, 25 

Lansdowne, Lord, 166 
Lascelles family, 93-94 
Latin America, export of British 
capital to, 131-32; British exports 

INDEX 277 

to, 132; Canning on independ- 
ence of, 132 

Lauber, A. W., 8-9 

Lecky, W. E. H., 13 

Leeds, 130 

Leeward Islands, 13; Bristol's trade 
with, 61; compared with Ja- 
maica, 77 

Leyland, Thomas, mayor of Liver- 
pool, 47; slave trading of, 47; 
banking interests of, 99-100 

Liverpool, slave trade, 32, 34; 
profits of slave trade, 36; popu- 
larity of slave trade, 37, 62-64, 
95; profits of W. I. trade, 36-37; 
losses of slave trade, 38; protest 
against colonial duties on slave 
imports, 41; slave traders, 47; 
mayors engaged in slave trade, 
47-48; members of Parliament 

. engaged in slave trade, 48; on 
modification of Navigation Laws 
(1739), 57; shipbuilders and slave 
trade, 58-59; sailors in slave 
trade, 59; roperies in, 59; on 
regulation of slave trade, 59; in 
age of trade, 60; customs receipts 
in, 62-63; growth of population 
in, 63; dock duties in, 63, 162; 
Clarkson on rise of, 63; relation- 
ship with Manchester, 63, 68, 162; 
capital in slave trade, 63; oppo- 
sition to abolition, 63; on woolen 
industry and monopoly in slave 
trade, 67; sugar refining in, 75; 
distilleries in, 79; heavy industry 
in, 83-84; banking in, 98-101; 
anti-slavery society of, 105; rail- 
way between Manchester and, 105; 
trade of with Latin America, 132; 
indifference of to W. I., 132; 
on East India Company's mo- 
nopoly, 138; on free trade, 138; 
opposition to W. I. monopoly, 
154, 161-63; slave trade, 161-62; 

connection with slavery, 162; 
cotton imports of, 162; free trade 
sentiments in, 162-63; Brazilian 
slave trade and, 172 

Lloyd family (banking), 157 

Lloyd's (insurance), 104-5 

London, kidnaping in, n; slave 
trade and, 32; protest against co- 
lonial duties on slave imports, 
41; W. I. Docks of, 60; woolen 
industry of, 66-67; sugar refining 
in, 74, 77; gun trade in, 82; bank- 
ing in, 101; on free trade, 138; 
opposition to W. I. monopoly, 
154; on independence of South 
America, 171 

Long family, 89; on cost of sugar 
plantations, 25; Beeston Long, 89; 
Edward Long, historian of Ja- 
maica, 89; Lord Farnborough, 
89; steam engine and, 103; profits 
of sugar plantations of, 122 

Louis XIV, 39 

Louisiana, 9, 150 

Luttrell, Temple, 49 

Macdowall, William, 75, 91, 102, 


Macaulay, T. B. (Lord), 193-94 
Macaulay, Zachary, 181, 185-86 
Manchester, in age of industry, 60; 
on woolen trade, "67; triangular 
trade and, 68-73; relationship 
with Liverpool, 63, 68; W. I. 
trade of, 68, 128-29, 133; trade 
with Africa, 68; competition 
with Indian textiles, 68-69, 71; 
relationship of cotton manufac- 
tures with slave traders, 70-71; 
raw cotton imports of, 71-73; 
sugar refining in, 75; banking in, 
98; railway between Liverpool 
and, 105; growth of population 
in, 1 06, 128; development of cot- 
ton industry, 127-29; on monop- 

278 INDEX 

oly, 133; on trade by "moral 
obligation," 134; on free trade, 
136; opposition to W. I. mo- 
nopoly, 154-57; interest in slave 
trade, 155; opposition to slave 
system, 155-56; relations with 
Liverpool, 162; on South Ameri- 
can market, 171; Brazilian slave 
trade and, 172, 174 

Manning, Cardinal, 43 

Mansfield, Chief Justice, 45-46 

Mantoux, Paul, 1 27 
.Marryat, Joseph, 94; famous son 
of, 91; connection with Lloyd's, 
104-5; slave compensation to, 105 

Maryland, 7, 16, 26 

Massachusetts, 4-5 

Mauritius, 49; equalization of sugar 
duties of with W. I., 133 ; growth 
of sugar production, 150-51 

Mercantilism, favored emigration, 
10; opposed to emigration, 15-16; 
on danger of colonial manufac- 
tures from introduction of white 
servants, 18; proposal to manu- 
facture dimity in Barbados and, 
24; on slave trade to foreign 
colonies, 33; on East India trade, 
37; rival mercantilisms, 40; effect 
of discovery of America on, 51; 
on triangular trade, 55; on W. I. 
colonies, 55*; on colonial system, 
55-56; Navigation Laws and, 56- 
57, 133; on woolen industry, 57, 
67; struggle against laissez faire, 
57; on fisheries, 59; ban on sugar 
refining in colonies, 75-76; in 
France, 76; effect of American 
Revolution on, 96, 107; stimu- 
lated Industrial Revolution, 98- 
105; brake on ecomonic prog- 
ress, 106-7, X 33i Adam Smith on, 
107; attitude of to Northern 
mainland colonies, 100-11; a sys- 
tem, however bad, no; on main- 

land trade with foreign W. I., 
116-19; slavery and, 136; Disraeli 
on, 140; Navigation Laws and, 
1 68 

Merivale, Herman, on importance 
of labor for commercial produc- 
tion, 4; on slavery, 5; on ex- 
pensiveness of slave labor, 7; on 
superiority of slave labor on 
fresh soil, 7; value of convict 
labor, 12; on industriousness of 
whites in slave economy, 25; on 
absenteeism, 86; on free trade 
with U. S., 124; on Australian 
wool, 131; on W. I. monopoly, 
*33 J 35 J 3 8 ; on colonies, 144; 
on abolition, 150; on slavery, 194 

Metallurgical industries, triangular 
trade and, 81-84; technological 
innovations in, 84, 126-27; expan- 
sion of iron industry, 103-4, I0 ^ 
129-30; expansion of coal indus- 
try, 129; ironmasters and aboli- 
tion, 157-59; ironmasters and 
slave trade, 158 

Methodists, 129, 155, 181 

Middle Passage, 34-35 

Miles family, representing Bristol 
in Parliament, 62; sugar refining 
of, 74; slave compensation, 74-75; 
alderman of Bristol, 95; banking 
interests of, 101 

Mittelberger, G., 13 

Molasses, embittered relations be- 
tween sugar planter and English 
landlord, 80; embittered relations 
between sugar planter and main- 
land colonist, 80; in New Eng- 
land economy, 80-8 1, 118; in 
French W. I., 80; Molasses Act, 

Moles worth, 143 

Monk, General, 40 

Monopoly, in slave trade, 30-32; 
W. I. planters oppose, 31, 56; in 

INDEX 279 

colonial system, 55-56; British 
merchants on, in eighteenth cen- 
tury, 57; struggle against free 
trade, 57; woolen industry on 
monopoly in slave trade, 66-67; 
Adam Smith on, 107; attack on 
West Indian, 126-27, 135-42, 153; 
attack on, 127, 137-39; Manches- 
ter on, 133; in corn, 137-38; in 
sugar, 137-39; of East India Com- 
pany, 137-38; capitalists on West 
Indian, 154-68; Manchester on, 
154-57; Liverpool on, 162-63; 
sugar refiners on, 163-66 

Montserrat, an Irish colony, 13; 
need of white servants and Ne- 
groes, 17; decline of white popu- 
lation, 24; increase of black 
population, 24; trade of com- 
pared with American mainland 
colonies, 54-55 

Moravians, 43 

Moss, James, banking interests, of, 
101; railway connections of, 105 

IN amier, L. B., 92, 113 

Navigation Laws, and mercantil- 
ism, 56-57; modified, 57, 133; 
West Indians on, after American 
Revolution, 121; repealed, 167-68 

Nelson, Horatio, 44 

Nevis, white servants, 24; decline 
of white population, 24; increase 
of black population, 24; slaves 
in, 39; trade of compared with 
American mainland colonies, 54- 
55; Pinney family in, 91; of Alex- 
ander Hamilton, 112; decline of 
sugar production in, 150-51 

New England, slavery in, 9; trade 
compared with West Indies and 
Africa, 54-55; distilling in, 80-8 1, 
118; triangular trade of, 78, 80; 
exports of rum, 80; attitude of 
mercantilists to, 109-11; food 

trade with West Indies of, 109-11 
Newfoundland, 52; W. I. market 

of, 59 

Newton, John, 42-43, 166 
New York, trade of compared 
with West Indian colonies and 
Africa, 54-55; woolen imports, 67 
New Zealand, 143 
North, Lord, on American Revo- 
lution, 121; on abolition, 126 
North Carolina, 19-20 

vJ'Connell, Daniel, 207 
Okill, John, 58 
Oldham, 128 
Oswald family, 163 
Ortiz, Fernando, 8, 21 

Pacotille, 81 

Palmerston, Viscount, on protec- 
tion, 139; on suppression of slave 
trade, 174-75 

Peel, Sir Robert, protectionist in 
sugar, 140; on British participa- 
tion in Brazilian slave trade, 172; 
on slavery in India, 185 

Pennant, Richard, member of Par- 
liament, 93; raised to the peerage, 
94; on steam engine, 103; revo- 
lutionized state industry in 
Wales, 105 

Pennsylvania, indentured servants, 
10; treatment of indentured serv- 
ants, 1 6; trade of compared with 
W. I. colonies and Africa, 54-55; 
woolen imports of, 67 

Philippines, 150, 167 

Philips, Mark, 155-156, 167 

Phillips, V. B., 19, 27 

Pinney family, in Nevis, 91; on 
American Revolution, 121 

Pitman, Frank, on value of W. I. 
plantations, 53; on mainland 
trade with W. L, 108; on Jamaica 
plantations, 151 

280 INDEX 

Pitt, William, on incomes from 
W. I., 53; on free trade between 
W. I. and America, 121; interest 
in India of, 123; encourages Wil- 
berforce to sponsor abolition, 
123, 148; compliment to Adam 
Smith, 138; on slave trade, 146; 
on East India sugar, 146; on abo- 
lition, 146-48; acceptance of Saint 
Domingue, 147-49 

Plantation, climatic theory of, 20- 
25; decline of whites in W. I. 
and, 23-24; increase of blacks in 
W. I. and, 23-24; slavery and, 27 

Pope, the, 3, 30, 33 

Portugal, claimed ownership of 
Columbus* discoveries, 3; owner- 
ship of Brazil, 3; immigrants in 
W. I., 27; Asiento and, 39; slave 
trade, 39 

Postlethwayt, Malachi, on danger 
of manufacturing in colonies 
from white servants, 18; on mo- 
nopoly in slave trade, 31; on 
abolition of slave trade, 49-50; 
on slave trade, 51-52; on colo- 
nies, 55; on mainland trade with 
foreign W. I., 116-17 

Price, Grenfell, 21-22 

Privy Council Committee of 1788, 
70; on British slave trade to 
foreign colonies, 34; on costs of 
sugar production, 145-46 

Protection, Palmerston on, 139; un- 
sound, 139; protectionists on, 
140; West Indians on, 141 

Puerto Rico, 21, 26-27 

(Quakers, transportation of, 13; 
participation in slave trade, 43- 
44; petition of against slave 
trade, 126 

Queen Elizabeth, 39 

Queensland, 22-23 

Queen Victoria, 136 

Ragatz, L. J., 1 88 
Ramsay, James, on British slave 
trade- to foreign colonies, 34; on 
character of slave traders, 46; 
on value of slave trade, 147; on 
mortality of white sailors in the 
slave trade, 167; personal experi- 
ence of slavery of, 180-81 
Rathbone, William, 58-59 
Raynal, Abbe, 105, 110 
Reform Bill, 133-34, 158, 209 
Ricardo, J. L M 139, 164, 168 
Robinson, Bishop, 42 
Rodney, Admiral, 44, 127 
Roebuck, J., 144 
Roscoe, William, 49, 100, 162 
Royal African Company, patron- 
age of Royal Family, 16, 39, 48; 
created, 31; abolition of monop- 
oly of slave trade and, 31-32; 
slaves exported by, 32; war with 
Dutch West India Company, 40; 
woolen industry and, 66-67; 
Samuel Touchet and, 70; iron 
trade and, 81-82; gun trade and, 

Rum, triangular trade and, 78-81; 
imports into Britain, 78; distil- 
leries in New England, 78-80; 
distilleries in Bristol, 79; distil- 
leries in Liverpool, 79; competi- 
tion with gin, 79; competition 
with corn spirits, 80 

Oaba, 21 

Saco, J. A., 1 8, 27 

Saint Domingue, 7; refiners on, 78; 
British evacuation of, 94; neces- 
sity of Britain taking over, 103, 
148; value of, 1 08; compared 
with Jamaica, 113, 122-23; sugar 
production in, 113, 122-23, 145- 
50; offered to England, 147-49, 
200; effect of slave revolt on 
price of sugar, 164; abolitionists 

INDEX 281 

on reconquest of, 189; repercus- 
sions of slave revolt in, 202 

St. Kitts (St. Christopher), Euro- 
pean immigrants in, 28; decline 
of sugar production in, 151 

St. Lucia, 151 

St. Martin, 21 

St. Thomas, 21 

St. Vincent, 151, 153 

St. Vincent, Earl, 44 

Sandars, Joseph, 105 

Scotland, attempt to set up inde- 
pendent African company, 56; 
Act of Union, 56, 64, 75 

Servants, indentured, successors of 
Indian slaves, 9; reasons for, 10; 
passion for independence of, 10; 
traffic in, 10; kidnaping of, 10-11, 
14; "newlanders," u; transporta- 
tion of Cromwell's Irish prison- 
ers, 13; transportation of Crom- 
well's Scottish prisoners, 13; 
transportation of Quakers, 13; 
transportation of Monmouth's 
followers, 13; transportation of 
Jacobites, 13; conditions of jour- 
ney, 13-14; vested interest in 
system, 14; Jeffreys' treatment of 
kidnapers, 14-16; status became 
progressively worse, 16-17; Eng- 
lish sensitiveness on, 17; Defoe 
on, 1 8; tended to democratic 
society, 18; Postlethwayt on, 18; 
compared with Negro slaves, 18- 
19; the historical base for Negro 
slavery, 19; climatic theory of 
plantation and, 20-23 

Sharp, Granville, 45 

Sheffield, in age of industry, 60; 
W. I. connections of, 104; op- 
position to W. I. monopoly, 154; 
abolition movement in, 159; on 
East India produce, 159; on ap- 
prenticeship, 159 

Sheffield, Lord, 121 

Shipping industry, stimulated by 
triangular trade, 57-58; on mo- 
nopoly of slave trade, 59; on- 
abolition, 59; ancillary trades, 
59; interest in slave trade, 167; 
interest in free trade in sugar, 
167; Navigation Laws and, 167- 

Sierra Leone, 43, 145, 163, 179 

Singapore, 131,- 151, 167 

Slave compensation, to Bishop of 
Exeter, 43; to Earl St. Vincent, 
44; to Baillie family, 62; to Miles 
family, 74-75; to Beckford fam- 
ily, 88; to Hibbert family, 88; to 
Gladstone family, 90; to Goul- 
burn, 94; to Earl of Balcarres, 
94; to Marryat family, 105; op- 
position of Sheffield to, 159; 
sugar refineries on, 165 

Slavery, necessary to prevent dis- 
persion of labor, 5; importance 
of as an economic institution, 5; 
expensiveness, 5-6, 7, 153; advan- 
tages and disadvantages of, 6; 
soil exhaustion and, 7, 113; ex- 
pansion necessary, 7; racism and, 
7-29; Indian slavery, 7-9; ineffi- 
ciency of Indian slave, 9; eco- 
nomic origin of Negro slavery, 
1 6, 10-29; climatic theory of, re- 
jected, 20-23; sugar, cotton, to- 
bacco and, 23; supported by 
Church, 42-44; in England, 44- 
45; law of slave production, 113, 
145, 150-51; Manchester on, 156; 
in India, 184-86; changed attitude 
towards, 194-96; policy of ame- 
lioration, 197-201; attitude of 
slaves to, 201-8 

Slave trade, Negro, demanded by 
slavery, 30; British foreign policy 
and, 30; Sir John Hawkins' ex- 
pedition, 30, 39; monopoly in, 
30-32; volume of British, 32, 33; 

282 INDEX 

to foreign colonies in W. I., 33- 
34; Asiento, 33, 40; mortality of 
slaves, 34-35; profits of, 35-37; 
popularity in Liverpool, 37, 62- 
64; required discrimination, 37- 
38; risks of, 38; royal patronage 
of, 1 6, 39, 48; British Govern- 
ment's attitude to, 40; struggle 
for Asiento, 40; British Govern- 
ment's attitude to colonial duties 
on, 40-41, 46; insurance com- 
panies and, 46, 104-5; character 
of men engaged in, 46-48; a great 
education, 47; humanitarianism of 
men engaged in, 47-48; protests 
against in eighteenth century, 
48-49; defence of in eighteenth 
century, 49-50; William Wood 
on, 51; Posdethwayt on, 51; im- 
portance to W. I. of, 52; mer- 
chant marine and, 58; woolen 
industry and, 66-67; Manchester's 
interest in, 68-73; rum m i 78-80; 
development of banks and, 98- 
101; effect of American Revolu- 
tion on, 123-24; Lord North on 
abolition of, 126; Quaker peti- 
tion against, 126; West Indians 
demand renewal of, 141; Pitt on, 
146; attempt at international 
abolition of, 146-47; British aboli- 
tion of, 149-50; W. I. planters 
support abolition of, 149-50; 
abolition movement in Manches- 
ter, 155; abolition movement in 
Birmingham, 157-58; Birmingham 
on, 158; mortality of white 
sailors in, 166-67; shipowners* in- 
terest in, 167; British attempts to 
secure abolition of by Spain and 
Portugal, 169; British capital in, 
171-72; British policy of suppres- 
sion of, 171-76; British goods in, 
172; abolitionists on suppressing, 
193-94; Gaston-Martin on, 209 

Smith, Adam, on prosperity of 
new colonies, 4; on expensive- 
ness of slave labor, 5-6; on im- 
portance of discovery of Amer- 
ica, 51; on profits of sugar 
plantations, 53, 85; Wealth of 
Nations, 107, 120, 124; on co- 
lonial system, 107, 120; on free 
trade between West Indies and 
America, 121; "invisible hand" 
of, 136; complimented by Pitt, 
138; quoted by Cobden, 142 

Society for the Propagation of the 
Gospel, 42 

South Africa, 143 

Southey, Robert, 49, 195 

Spain, Indian slavery in colonies, 
8-9; colonial policy and white 
immigrants, 21, 27; Asiento and, 
33, 39; smuggling trade to colo- 
nies, 34; monarchy and slav^e 
trade, 39 

Steam engine, financed by capital 
from W. I. trade, 102; progress 
of, 1 06, 126-28, 131, 155 

Steen, Marguerite, 44 

Stephen, James, trusteeship of, 144, 
1 80; on Pitt, 148; on manumis- 
sions in Trinidad, 199 

Sturge, Joseph, 158, 161, 192 

Sugar, Negro slavery and, 23; dis- 
possession of small farmer by, 
23-25; increase of black popula- 
tion and, 23-24; increase of 
wealth in Barbados and, 25; 
growth of latifundia in Barbados 
and, 25; a capitalist undertaking, 
25; a lottery, 38; profits of, 53, 
85, no; importance of to Eng- 
land, 55; W. I. Docks and im- 
ports of, 60; refining industry in 
England, 73-78; refining in plan- 
tations, 75-76; iron industry and, 
82-83; brass industry and, 83-84; 
increase of duties on, 96-97; in- 

INDEX 283 

volved monoculture, 110-11; su- 
periority of French production, 
113-14, 145-49; duties on, 123, 
137-38; world production, 145- 
53; in Cuba, 145, 149-52; in Bra- 
zil, 145, 150-52; beet, 149-50; 
overproduction in W. I., 149, 
152; in Mauritius, 151; decline of 
production in British W. I., 149- 
53; equalization of duties, 153; 
importation of Brazilian for re- 
fining, 155, 163; slave-grown, 
156, 165; refiners of, 163-66; 
equalization of duties on, 164 

Sugar planters, opposed to monop- 
oly in slave trade, 31; clash with 
slave traders, 33-34, 40-41; clash 
with merchants, 40-41, 55-57, 92; 
opposed to monopoly in sugar 
trade, 56; on free ports, 56; clash 
with refiners, 76-78; restriction of 
production by, 76-78; clash with 
English agricultural interest, 80, 
93, 97; wealth of, 85; opposed to 
increase of sugar duties, 96-97; 
to new settlements, 113, 149-50 

Sugar refining, in Glasgow, 64, 75; 
in Britain, 73-78; in Bristol, 73- 
74, 77-7 8 ; in London, 74, 77; re- 
finers on abolition, 74; in Liver- 
pool, 75; clash of refiners with 
planters, 76-78; petitions of re- 
finers, 74, 77, 164; refiners on 
high prices of sugar, 77; refiners 
on W. I. monopoly, 163-66; on 
East India sugar, 164; capital in- 
vestment of, 165; on slave com- 
pensation, 165 

Sypher, Wylie, 49 

1 arleton family, 48, 162 
"The West Indian," 86, 93 
Thomas, Sir Dalby, on value of 
labor in the W. I., 53; on impor- 
tance of sugar to England, 55 

Thomson, James, 48-49 

Thomson, Poulett, 167 

Thornton family, 181, 186 

Tobacco, comparison of in Cuba 
and Virginia, 21; small farming 
in Barbados, 23; Negro slavery 
and, 23; Negro slavery in Vir- 
ginia and, 26; industry in Glas- 
gow, 64, 75; compared with 
sugar, 85 

Tobago, 150 

Tordesillas, Treaty of, 3 

Touchet, Samuel, 70-71 

Toussaint, L'Ouverture, 195, 202, 

Transportation, offences, 11-12; 
conditions of journey, 13-14 

Triangular trade, organization of, 
51-52; stimulus to British indus- 
try of, 52, 65-84, 98-107; profits 
from finance Industrial Revolu- 
tion, 52, 98-105; stimulated ship- 
ping and shipbuilding, 57-59; 
stimulated growth of seaport 
towns, 60-64; woolen industry 
and, 65-68; cotton manufacture 
and, 68-73; sugar refining and, 
73-78; rum and, 78-81; metallurgi- 
cal industries and, 81-84, 102-4; 
banking and, 98-102; insurance 
and, 104-5 

Trinidad, white servants, 24; East 
Indian migration to, 28, 90; War- 
ner family in, 90; abolition in, 
150-51; sugar production in, 151- 
53; on policy of amelioration, 
197-99; free people of color in, 
201; violence of planters of, 
202-3, 20 7> misconceptions of 
slaves in, 203-4 

Tucker, Josiah, 49 

United States, trade with W. I., 
121-22; transport of sugar to 
Europe, 122, 149; free trade with 

284 INDEX 

Britain, 124-25, 131-32; Merivale 
on free trade with Britain, 124; 
Huskisson on free trade with 
Britain, 124-25; cotton exports to 
Britain, 128, 132; export of Brit- 
ish capital to, 131; British im- 
ports of cotton from, 162; 
British government on Civil War 
in, 176-77 
Utrecht, Treaty of, 40-42 

Vasa, Gustavus, 158 

Virginia, 7; Indian Slavery, 8; in- 
dentured servants, 10; convict 
labor, 12; Negro slavery, 26 

Voltaire, F. M., 17, 114 

Wakefield, Gibbon, 4, 6 

Walpole, Horace, 41 

Warner family, 90 

Washington, George, 13, 107 

Watt, James, 102, 126-27, *57 

Wealth of Nations , 107, 120, 124, 

Wedgwood, Josiah, 179 

Wellington, Duke of, attitude to 
West Indians, 95-96; attitude to 
Reform Bill, 134; boycott of 
produce of slave trading coun- 
tries and, 169-70; on suppression 
of slave trade, 175; on slavery in 
India, 184; and abolitionists, 189; 
on abolition, 189 

Wertenbaker, T. J., 18, 26 

Wesley, John, 181 

West India Association, oo; of 
Liverpool, 100 

West India Interest, clash with 
English agricultural interest, 80, 
93, 97; social position of in Eng- 
land, 91; power of in eighteenth 
century, 92-97; members of, in 
Parliament, 92-94, 97; powerful 
friends of, 95-06; opposition to 
increased sugar duties, 96-97; 

banking connections of, 100-2; 
insurance connections of, 105; 
railway connections of, 105; vic- 
tory of with regard to peace 
treaty of 1763, 115; on their mo- 
nopoly, 140-42; on East India 
sugar, 140; on Brazilian sugar, 
140; on suppression of slave 
trade, 175-76 

West Indies, white servants in, 11- 
14; convict labor in, 12; Irish 
servants in, 13; profits of trade 
with, 36-37; importance of Ne- 
groes to, 52; value of plantations 
in, 53; Adam Smith on profits of 
sugar cultivation in, 53, 85; trade 
with Britain compared with 
mainland colonies trade, 53-55; 
shipping and, 58; imports of fish 
in, 59; London docks and trade 
with, 60; Bristol's trade with, 61; 
Glasgow's trade with, 64; exports 
of wool to, 67-68; Manchester's 
trade with, 68-70; cotton exports 
of, 71-73, 128; refining in, 75-76; 
rum trade of, 78-81; iron exports 
to, 81-84, I 3i exports of brass to, 
83-84; legacy of plantation in, 
92; profits of trade with, invested 
in heavy industry, 102-4; insur- 
ance companies and, 104-5; im- 
ports from mainland colonies of, 
1 08; ecomonic relations with 
mainland colonies, 108-22; food 
imports of, no-n, 121; mono- 
culture in, HO-II; personal con- 
tacts with North Americans, 112; 
Stamp Act in, 121; effects of 
American Revolution in, 120-25; 
United States trade with after 
American Revolution, 121-22; 
decline of British trade with, 
131-32; monopoly of, 126-27, 
133, 135-42; unprofitable econ- 
omy of, 135-36, 138-39; competi- 

INDEX 285 

tion of East India sugar, 137-38, 
153; Roebuck on, 144; decline of 
sugar production in, 149-53; 
capitalists on monopoly of, 154- 
68; Cobbett on monopoly of, 
155; cotton manufacturers on 
monopoly of, 154-57; Bright on 
protecting duty of, 156-57; boy- 
cott of produce of, 159, 183-84, 
190; refiners of sugar on, 164-65; 
attitude of planters towards 
slavery, 197-201; free people of 
color in, 201; attitude of slaves 
towards slavery, 201-8; slave re- 
volts in, 202-8 

West Indies (French), British sup- 
ply of slaves to, 33-34; sugar re- 
fining in, 76; molasses in, 80; 
superiority of, 113-14, 122-23; 
American trade with, 115-20, 
122; sugar cultivation in, 145 

Westmoreland, Earl of, 48 

West Riding, 130, 154, 160 

Whitefield, George, 5, 43 

Whitehaven, 103 

Whitmore, Thomas, 187 

Whitney, Eli, 20, 128 

Whitworth, Sir Charles, 53-55 

Wilberforce, William, on George 
Ill's opposition to abolition, 39; 
attacked by William IV, 39; 
Bristol's enthusiasm over rejec- 
tion of abolition bill of, 42; at- 

tacked by Nelson, 44; fear of 
House of Lords, 48; attacked by 
Boswell, 49; encouraged by Pitt 
to sponsor abolition, 123, 181; 
Pitt's support of, 148; on aboli- 
tion, 150; on abolition movement 
in Manchester, 155; Cobbett on, 
155; representative of York, 159; 
spokesman for woolen industry, 
1 60; on mortality of white sailors 
in slave trade, 166; Canning to 
on Brazilian trade, 170-71; imagi- 
nary interview with Coupland, 
178; letter of Ramsay to, 180; 
character of, 181-82; on emanci- 
pation, 182; on Pownall amend- 
ent, 183; letter of Liverpool to 
on abolition, 189; son of, 192 

Wilkinson, John, 106, 129 

Williamson, J. A., 10 

Winthrop, Governor, no 

Wood, William, on slave trade, 51; 
on value of labor in W. I., 53; 
on mainland trade with foreign 
W. I., 118-19 

Wool, triangular trade and, 65-68; 
technological changes in, 68; 
superseded by cotton, 68, 130; 
expansion of, 130; Australian, 
131; exports of to China, 134; 
opposition to W. I. monopoly, 

Wordsworth, William, 136, 195